Almost every state and almost every city in America is taking the importance of sustainability to heart by enacting green efforts across the board, from city planning to greening transportation fleets, to switching to LED bulbs in city facilities. Sustainability is now a real part of city planning as it works to meet the needs of its citizens while developing programs and initiatives for a greener future. Sustainable action plans, environmental initiatives, and green efforts are seen in city programs, on city websites, and in new laws being enforced to make a greener America.
Katie Couric Media (KCM) is a purpose-driven brand creating premium content that addresses important social issues like gender equality, environmental sustainability, and mental health. As reported by KCM in April 2022 these are the most eco-friendly and sustainable cities in America, the ones working on combating climate change.
- The summary comes from a nationwide survey RocketHomes conducted in conjunction with BestPlaces.net.
- They gathered info on sustainability practices from the 60 largest cities in the country.
- These 60 cities represent over half of the U.S. population.
- The criteria for a sustainable city included anything and everything that a city might be doing.
- This is because different locations will have different climate issues to contend with (Arizona’s issues are very different than Florida’s issues).
The great thing about this survey is that it highlights all of the various strategies cities can take to become more sustainable. Some city-specific actions include:
- Phoenix, Arizona– has intense water scarcity and is already in the top 5 percent of the country for green space per capita.
- Portland, Oregon– the energy reduction program has converted 45,000 streetlights to LED technology, requiring 66 percent less energy than traditional lightbulbs.
- Sacramento, California– is tackling vehicle fuel emissions head-on and has been aided by a $44 million pledge by Electrify America to help provide infrastructure for these vehicles, including charging stations and electric bus and shuttle systems.
- San Francisco, California– strict recycling and composting have led to a shocking 80 percent of trash diverted from landfills and being recycled or composted.
The complete list of the 15 greenest cities in America:
|1. Portland, OR||8. Denver, CO|
|2. Seattle, WA||9. Sacramento, CA|
|3. St. Paul, MN||10. Los Angeles, CA|
|4. San Diego, CA||11. Silver Spring, MD|
|5. Washington, D.C.||12. New York, NY|
|6. San Francisco, CA||13. San Bernadino, CA|
|7. Boston, MA||14. Honolulu, HI|
|15. Phoenix, AZ|
You may have noticed that the state of California has five cities on the list. C.A. is truly at the nation’s forefront of leading the way in sustainable and green efforts.
A second source for a comparative study comes from MyMove, LLC, a media company with unbeatable technology, data, and marketing expertise. In March 2022 they shared this report on eco-friendly cities in the U.S. Their list was determined by using the Arcadis Sustainability 2018 Study as their source. “Eco-friendly” focuses primarily on a city’s environmental impact, such as its carbon emissions, energy use, and pollution. In regards to sustainability, the Arcadis study looked at:
- The study takes into account three important factors: “people,” “planet,” and “profit”.
- A city’s pollution metrics.
- An urban environment had to reflect social mobility and high quality of life, have low pollution metrics, and demonstrate strong economic performance.
- If the city had a low index of greenhouse gas emissions but has poorly planned and congested public transportation, it did not meet the required sustainability index. I
- Cities had to meet environmental requirements plus the needs of their citizens overall.
- The study takes note of each city’s performance in the other accompanying areas.
They listed the Top Five of the Most Eco-friendly & Most Sustainable cities in the U.S.
#1. New York, NY
Eco-friendliness score: Ranking 20 out of 100 on the planet sub-index, New York, NY, is a leading city in the U.S. for sustainability in terms of eco-friendliness.
Sustainability score: For overall sustainability, New York ranks 14 out of 100 global cities, a high measure. It is the most sustainable city in the U.S.
- New York excels at air pollution measures, waste management, and overall water and sanitation.
- It’s been at the forefront of large environmental initiatives aimed at reducing its overall greenhouse gas emissions.
- It has implemented the NYC carbon challenge, a voluntary leadership program striving to reduce overall carbon emissions.
- It also promotes a zero-waste program, an energy performance map, a greenhouse gas data set, and a GreeNYC program that works to educate and mobilize citizens toward sustainability.
- The city has also passed laws enforcing energy efficiency.
#2. New Orleans, LA
Eco-friendliness score: New Orleans ranks 23 out of 100 for all global cities considered in the planet sub-index.
Sustainability score: While it ranks high on the eco-friendliness measure, it comes in at 61 out of 100 for overall sustainability. It appears too heavily biased towards profit and not enough toward social mobility.
- After Katrina in 2010, New Orleans took a major step in implementing city-wide sustainability reforms.
- One of the most notable is GreeNola, a part of the Louisiana Disaster Relief for a sustainable New Orleans.
- It also has an office of Resiliency and Sustainability that helps implement efficient, sustainable, environmentally-friendly infrastructure.
#3. Seattle, WA
Eco-friendliness score: Seattle ranks 26 out of 100 on the planet sub-index.
Sustainability score: Seattle is one of the greenest cities in the U.S. due to its high rank for overall sustainability. It’s 19 out of 100 cities for all three factors.
- Seattle is well-known for its environmentally friendly persona.
- This is backed up by a variety of greening programs that help boost its rank on the Arcadis study.
- It has multiple gardening, compost, and greening programs that help neighborhoods delve further into environmentalism.
- It also has various bike programs, camps, environmental learning programs, sustainable landscaping initiatives, and water conservation measures.
#4. Boston, MA
Eco-friendliness score: Boston sits at 29 out of 100 global cities for overall environmentalism.
Sustainability score: Boston is high on the list — 22 out of 100 — for overall sustainability because it engages as much of its diverse community as possible in sustainability measures.
- Boston has been making major headway as one of the most environmentally friendly cities over the past few years.
- Its Climate of Progress is an ambitious plan to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.
- It also integrates climate change into all future planning, has a framework to engage communities in sustainability, and has a growing energy efficiency program called Renew Boston.
#5. Philadelphia, PA
Eco-friendliness score: Philadelphia rests at 36 out of 100 global cities on the planet sub-index.
Sustainability score: While it is known for decent social sustainability programs, Philadelphia has only recently started investing in this area, leaving it behind other, more equitable cities. It sits at just 52 out of 100.
- Philadelphia ranks as one of the greenest cities in the U.S. due to its comprehensive Greenworks Philadelphia initiative.
- It’s made up of eight distinct visions: zero-waste, healthy air, accessible food and water, engaged stewards, quality natural resources, clean energy, carbon-neutral communities, and accessible transportation.
- The city also has an energy benchmark and solar rebate program to further incentivize clean energy use.
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