Pollution and carbon emissions aren’t fun for anyone, so here’s a list of cities that have nature and green living in mind. No city is perfect, and many have a long way to go before reaching ultimate sustainability. But these cities are benefiting both quality of life for its people, and the conservation and protection of our earth and environment.
If you’re ever visiting any of these amazing towns, let them inspire you to reduce your own carbon footprint and become an eco-friendly traveler. Even planting just a few trees can make your own city a better place to be. Here are the 10 most eco-friendly cities:
Copenhagen has been voted the most eco-friendly city in the world several times because of its commitment to developing green ways of living and sustainability. Biking is incredibly popular in this town, and it aims to have half of its people cycling to work or school this year.
Amsterdam is progressive and green in more ways than its famous “coffee shops.” It’s notorious for being the city where there are more bikes than people (bikes are literally piled over each other in the streets!), and holds the title of the most bicycle-friendly capital city in the world. Not only does biking ensure a healthier population, but it reduces carbon emissions and pollution significantly.
Stockholm is cleaner than any city I’ve ever visited. Litter rarely lines the sidewalk; the streets are always well-maintained, and the air is clear, crisp, and bright. Stockholm is famous for its cleanliness, lack of heavy industry/pollution, and an amazing public transportation system. Not to mention the Swedish countryside… it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
Berlin is a crazy, wild town but it’s also known for its alternative view on keeping things green. Berlin ties green spaces beautifully into the urban landscape, and has more parks than any other city in Europe. Check out the Alternative Berlin Green Tour to learn about all the ways Berlin’s communities are passionate about recycling, resourcing, and creating a sustainable environment.
Portland isn’t just about beautiful views and great coffee shops; it’s also a bustling town filled with environmentalists, hippies, and people who love nature and all things earth-friendly. As a result, it has grown to become one of the greenest places to live in the world, offering 92,000 acres of green space in and 74 miles of hiking and running trails.
San Francisco, California
It’s hard to not be aware of nature when you’re living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Surrounded by blue waters, a clear blue sky, and miles of California’s natural parks and forests, San Francisco is one of the greenest cities in the U.S. Half of its population either walks, bikes, or uses public transportation to get to work. As one of the most progressive, tolerant, and forward-thinking towns on the West Coast, San Francisco is a good leader in the environmental movement for the rest of America.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is taking the lead for the entire continent of Africa by making major environmental strides, like using energy from South Africa’s first commercial wind farm, transforming the city to provide for bike routes, and supporting farmers markets.
Leave it to Scandinavia to be the cleanest (and happiest) place in the world. Helsinki also makes it to this list because like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, the city makes it easy for its commuters to cycle through the city and use public transportation which reduces air pollution.
People flock to Vancouver for its proximity to the mountains and nature, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most environmentally-minded places in the world. Vancouver scores well with regards to C02 emissions and quality of air, and is considered the hometown of Greenpeace.
Iceland often seems like something out of a fairytale: utopic and beautiful and pure. But it’s also one of the cleanest places in the world. Reykjavik has hydrogen buses in its streets, and all of its heat and electricity comes from renewable geothermal and hydropower sources (like the rest of the country!) To learn more about where you should go during a trip to Iceland, read this.