If you care about the earth, finding a city to live in that prioritizes sustainable building and transportation, has regular farmers markets and plenty of outdoor recreation activities, and considers the planet when making political and economic decisions is probably important to you.
It’s hard to say just how “green” any big city can be, since making environmentally sound decisions ultimately comes down to personal choice. But plenty of studies have attempted to rate America’s cities for their greening efforts. Here are four who consistently come out on top.
- Seattle, Wash. – Seattle wants its residents to build sustainably when they remodel or construct new homes, so city leaders have offered incentives for those who add solar panels. The city also is leading the way in green building by constructing all its new public buildings to LEED standards. Energy customers can purchase renewably-produced energy for their homes, and the city gets points for its clean air.
- Portland, Ore. – Sustainable transportation, use of public open space and home gardening are Portland’s big three green stars. The city has been moving steadily toward a goal of drawing 100 percent of its power from renewable energy sources. Light rail and LEED innovation are also happening here.
- Boston, Mass. – Boston has 2015 set as the year by which it would like to accomplish many of its ambitious sustainability goals, including having all taxi cabs be hybrid vehicles, use of solar panels for commercial and residential power sources, and resident awareness. City Hall went green several years ago. The city’s annual GreenFest includes a one gallon challenge innovative vehicle race to highlight the future of transportation.
- San Francisco, Calif. – Solar energy, mandatory composting and recycling, and banning of plastic bags have just scratched the surface of San Francisco’s greening efforts. An emphasis on commuter cycling, re-plantable Christmas trees, compostable toilets, and increasing car free zones are a few of the city’s newer efforts to go green.
- Portland, Seattle Duke it Out for World’s Most Nature-Inspired Building (fastcompany.com)