Planet Earth is continuously experiencing the effects of climate change — from land to sea, signs of struggles are evident and seem to worsen. To help the earth slowly get back to its healthy state, there are certain groups and NGOs that support sustainable living. Their mission is to encourage more people to practice an environment-friendly lifestyle to achieve a better future for the Earth.
Sustainable lifestyles begin with small steps — until they become a habit. Cities in the United States are applying the ways of going green in their daily lives. A city is a living ecosystem that is constantly changing. However, development does not always lead to progressiveness — city development can contribute to the amount of carbon released into the environment. For this reason, cities are engaged in living green to lessen the Earth’s stress.
10 Greenest Cities in the United States
If you are planning to move or visit new places, you shouldn’t miss out on some of the greenest cities in the United States. Take notes, and you might want to apply these practices to your life or be an advocate in your town.
The federal government’s center is at the top of the list of the greenest cities in the United States. It has the record of the lowest carbon emissions and has sustainable transportation. The municipality successfully achieved this record by utilizing modernizing infrastructure, increasing energy efficiency, and using renewable energy in residential and commercial buildings.
Aside from the mentioned practices, the city also has programs that build up good habits in people. They motivate people to shift to micro-mobility options such as solar-powered bikeshare and scooter programs. Washington D.C. is also known for providing vegan-friendly food — you won’t run out of healthy restaurant options. Parks and green spaces are also an essential factor in building a green city — beneficial to the beauty of the city and the health of its citizens.
Mayor Muriel Bowser made “Sustainable D.C.” her mission. According to the Mayor, her vision is to make the District of Columbia the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city for all District residents. Evidently, Mayor Muriel is true to her words.
New York City, NY
The “Big Apple” is the most famous city globally, and what makes New York much more impressive is its goal to lead a sustainable path. The city vowed to attain net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and it also aims to provide 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040.
Most importantly, the citizens of New York prefer the subway and a bike ride as their daily mode of transportation. For this reason, it is one of the cities with the lowest carbon emissions and only contributes 3% of the country’s greenhouse gases. New York is also famous for its public parks — Central Park is just one of them. The city has 2,300 parks, giving the town enough green space for tourists and residents.
Portland deserves to be popularly known as a green city for the longest time. Citizens have sustainable and low-impact lifestyles. Half of the city’s power comes from renewable energy sources, and 35 buildings in Portland are validated by the US Green Building Council. Recycling is also practiced in homes, and 67% of all waste is composted.
The city has an excellent program to maintain sustainable practice, which is called the Portland Green Energy Fund. It is a program that includes a diverse group of people moving to create a better environment. The campaign involves job training for people of color to work in green industries. Its mission is to provide funds to support high-efficiency heat pumps to assist underprivileged communities in preparing for possible heatwaves. Also, Portland has several vegan-friendly restaurants that support a sustainable lifestyle even more.
The city of Seattle aims to achieve a fossil fuel-free future based on the Clean Transportation Electrification Blueprint. Businesses and individuals are highly encouraged to opt for electric vehicles, bicycle rides, and public transportation. Decreasing the number of vehicles can lessen carbon emissions and stop their contribution to greenhouse gases.
Moreover, Seattle manages their waste well — 60% of city waste is composted. The city is also encouraging the habit of recycling materials. There is also a violation fee of $250 for people who are seen using plastic bags instead of paper bags and reusable bags.
Boston is a great city with a high ambition of turning the municipality into an electric vehicle zone. They are also on the move in improving alternative public transportation. Third, its population prefers public transit, and 5% of the citizens are walking commuters. Boston will also issue a public electric vehicle charging station or EV car-share program, less than a 10-minute walk from every household.
Aside from that, Boston is the first city to apply for the Green Building Zone. The municipality established a new “Stretch” Energy Code which orders residential and commercial buildings to gain about 20% better energy efficiency — more than the state’s base energy code. A Renew Boston program was implemented in 2010 — to seek clean energy solutions and provide more jobs for the residents of Boston.
Las Vegas, NV
At first, you won’t believe that Las Vegas is considered a green city. With all the dazzling lights, establishments open both night and day, and the number of tourists and residents, you’d think that the city won’t be included on the list. Set aside your impressions of the well-known town; Las Vegas is in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, just like Washington, which has helped the city gain a spot as one of the cities with the lowest records of carbon emissions.
Las Vegas also has 123 acres of parks, which is sufficient green space for residents. The country’s first-ever battery-powered, driverless shuttle was also introduced in Las Vegas, and it was a smart alternative transportation for both residents and tourists. Also, Boulder Solar, which provides solar power, is the primary energy source for most of the community’s establishments.
Los Angeles, CA
The City of Angels is making progress with applying sustainability to its community. Los Angeles seeks to build on better green credentials and be regarded as an environmentally friendly city. Since it is also proclaimed as the city of Sunshine, Los Angeles is the biggest generator of solar energy in the whole country. Decreasing greenhouse gases is also the goal of the city. To do so, they are moving to stop the use of coal for energy mix — giving importance to energy efficiency.
Los Angeles is progressing with the decrease of carbon emissions, as it is already 24% lower than its record in 1990. Mayor Eric Garcetti initiated the Los Angeles Green New Deal in 2019, and it will serve as a model on how to meet the UN Paris Climate Agreement mission. Los Angeles is on the rise and consistently moves to a more sustainable lifestyle for all.
San Francisco, CA
Another city from California made it to the top 10 greenest cities in the US — San Francisco is also envisioning a clean and green environment. San Francisco provides more electric vehicle charging stations than any other US city. They are also known for correctly disposing of waste — which doesn’t just make them clean but also green. Proper waste disposal helps in refining air quality and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
The Golden Gate City was the first municipality to pass the San Francisco Bag Ban in 2007. It was the first major law prohibiting plastic bags — to successfully achieve zero waste by 2020. The law only allows the citizens to carry reusable bags, either cloth or machine washable material or durable plastic that is about 2.25 mils thick. In addition, San Francisco has many restaurants offering vegetarian meals — making it a city qualified to be called green.
To identify establishments labeled as green buildings, they must receive the EPA Energy Star label or USGBC LEED certification. 11.5 % of the buildings built in Chicago have the EPA Energy Star label, and 5.2% hold LEED certification. Aside from green buildings, the Windy City has a great deal of ecotourism. The city is abundant in green attractions such as the Millennium Park, The Garfield Park Conservatory, and the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
Chicago also has green museums. These museums support and advocate for sustainability. The institutions practice earth-friendly habits and educate visitors on the significance of leading a green life. You can visit these museums to support their advocacy:
The Mile High City participates in an eco-related program called Million Tree Initiative. Trees are undoubtedly essential — communities benefit from them because they are helpful in preventing floods, reducing the temperature, decreasing carbon emissions, and avoiding diseases by enhancing air quality. The program’s mission is to build spaces for canopy cover and urban forests — to properly balance the environment. Establishments in Denver are also certified green buildings. 13.3% of Denver offices have the EPA Energy Star label and USGBC Leed certification.
Moreover, 10.9 percent of Denver is operating through renewable energy. The city also plans to reach a hundred percent use of renewable electricity by 2030. Denver is starting to build solar gardens on municipal parking lots and rooftop buildings to achieve this goal. Denver established a transportation-wise city as they funded RTD light rail and intercity bus systems. Through this, tourists and residents will opt for public transportation rather than a private vehicle.
The Road to an Even Better Green Community
Leading a sustainable life must start within the community. From one small program to a more prominent organization, the advocacy for a greener Earth will eventually grow more — if the given platform is correctly used. It is nice to know that large cities greatly invest in a lifestyle-wise future. Sustainability comes in different forms — building two to three habits is already an effort to be recognized.
The Earth is the only compatible place for humans. The US cities listed above are a great example of a progressing community. With the ongoing climate change threat, humans have to take the initiative and persuade large companies to participate in this movement. Everyone has to take responsibility — the future of the planet Earth is in our hands.Whizzco