In honor of Earth Day, I’ve been writing a series on the environment and its relationship to a Low Density Lifestyle. My point has been that living a Low Density Lifestyle is not just about your own personal health and wellness and ability to experience healthy living, but the health and wellness of the planet.
Because if a Low Density Lifestyle is about feeling lighter of body, mind and spirit, then it should also mean that you tread lighter on the earth.
I’ve been talking a lot about sustainable, local and organic foods, but now I want to shift the focus to green living, energy and the enviroment.
Today I want to tell you about the 10 greenest cities in the U.S., based on a compilation from the website TreeHugger and the magazine Popular Science. Here goes – the results for some of the cities might surprise you, and perhaps you will have a different point of view:
Boston doesn’t get a whole lot of green love from the environmental movement, but it should—it’s quietly made its way to the top of greenest city lists with good public transit, an eye on energy efficiency, mandated green building standards, and even a bike share on the way.
Home to some of the greenest communities in the country, Asheville is a cool green town nestled in mountainous, western North Carolina. It’s not nearly the size of most of the other cities on this list, but it edges its way in out of sheer greenness—in addition to those celebrated eco communities, Asheville was named “most vegetarian friendly” small city by PETA, and is surrounded by beautiful nature on all sides.
The Windy City has leaned pretty green in recent years—with good public transit, a tax on bottled water, an ambitious bike plan, and an even more ambitious plan to curb carbon emissions by 75%, the city is making good green progress.
7. New York City
The biggest city in the US is also a front runner for the greenest—with arguably the best public transit system in the nation, centralized apartment-based living, easy access to farmer’s markets and CSAs, and a walking-friendly urban layout, New York is green without really even trying to be. So even though people think grey, not green, when they picture the Big Apple, it is a green city.
6. Oakland, CA
The local transit authority has put on the road zero emission buses – all hydrogen powered. For that and other reasons, Oakland makes the list.
Over the last few years, Austin has emerged as one of the indisputable leading green cities in the US. The city has seen a veritable revolution in biodiesel, plug-in hybrid infrastructure, and solar and wind power. Great farmers’ markets, organic restaurants, and bike-friendly streets cement Austin’s reputation as a green metropolis.
Seattle is yet another fast-rising green destination–the mayor has booted out bottled water and taxes plastic bags, has great plans for biking paths, a controversially named trolley for public transit and even a biodiesel gas station. Suffice to say, there’s a strong green vibe emanating from Seattle.
3. Eugene, OR
Much of the wet Pacific Northwest draws its energy from hydroelectric dams, but Eugene, a very green-friendly city, draws an additional 9 percent of its municipal electricity from wind farms. It also buys back excess power from residents who install solar panels.
2. San Francisco
The city’s mayor Gavin Newsom got TreeHugger’s seal of green approval as the best local politician in 2009’s Best of Green awards. So it’s no surprise that his city is one of the most green places in the country. San Francisco has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, has been advancing solar power initiatives, ditching the plastic bag, and getting ready to promote electric cars.
Oregon’s biggest city is widely recognized as the greenest city in the US, and the most bike-friendly city in the country.