When it comes to establishing an eco-friendly lifestyle, you may think that major cities have it the hardest. Surely these urban spaces, the financial and industrial hubs, will never be the shining examples of green living that we see in forward-thinking suburban communities or quaint self-sustaining villages – right?
Wrong. In many ways, big cities are the best places to start a green revolution. It’s these urban centres that have the money and influence to make a massive impact (by reducing their impact, that is). Even relatively minor adjustments – introducing a recycling law or initiating a city bike scheme – can make a major difference.
The rise of ecotourism is also encouraging more cities to adopt more sustainable structures. As the public continues to become more eco-conscious, travel agents are highlighting destinations known for their sustainability. For example, the following cities are revered by ecotourists and known to be the most eco-friendly urban landscapes on the planet:
Copenhagen by bike – pic credits: David Dennis
A very fitting host for the UN’s Climate Change Summit in 2009, Copenhagen can hold its head high when it comes to environmental issues. The city’s successful bike hire scheme and many cycle routes make it easy to navigate its streets by bicycle – the preferred option of commuters. Copenhagen is also home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which sources 4% of the city’s power.
Just like the rest of Iceland, its capital city is powered entirely by renewable resources and is committed to phasing out its use of fossil fuels entirely. In 2003, the city successfully introduced hydrogen-powered buses to its public transportation system. In recent years, Reykjavik has increased its commitment to being pedestrian and cycle-friendly, adding more walking and cycling paths across the city.
Portland, Oregon, USA
The capital of Oregon State on America’s west coast, Portland is known for its eco-conscious residents and their commitment to the region’s natural landscape. In 2008, Popular Science ranked it as America’s number one greenest city, with 50% of all electricity sourced from renewables and 25% of residents commuting by bicycle, public transport or carpooling.
So, just like its rainforests, oceans and mountain ranges, our planet’s urban landscapes also deserve to endure for years to come. These popular ecotourism destinations are shining examples of how big cities can make a big difference toward achieving greater sustainability.