In 2019, Oxford Dictionaries named “climate emergency” as the Word of the Year among the shortlisted environment-related words, which include “climate action,” “extinction,” “climate denial,” “flight shame,” and “eco-anxiety.”
Undoubtedly, we live in an era when the climate crisis has become a part of everyday conversations that it’s become impossible to ignore. And as individuals, we all have to do our roles in curbing the effects of climate change as actively as possible.
We can do this in different ways, including being part of movements devoted to putting into momentum the actions we need to do to halt us from reaching the tipping point in the climate crisis. That might be a tall order for some of us, but there are other things you can do, like eating less meat, cutting back on flying, planting trees, turning off appliances when not in use, recycling, and lessening our consumption and waste.
Another lifestyle change we could make to help our environment recover is living in a green or sustainable city. But, how can you know what makes a green city green?
What Makes A Green City Green?
When you’re looking for a new place, whether it’s a condo for sale, an apartment, or a house, you should choose the ones in a green city. Unfortunately, some cities market themselves as green to attract the eco-friendly generation, even if they are not. But the good news is you can find out for yourself if your future neighborhood is green. Here are some things that you need to look for in these green cities:
- Green spaces
Of course, the most obvious ones to look for are green spaces like parks, community gardens, and even cemeteries. Yes, you read that right. Basically, any land covered with greens like trees, grass, and vegetation is green space.
Parks function as an oasis in a hot and desert-like city. They provide a respite, a place where you can relax and inhale with better chances of breathing clean air as trees absorb and store carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Community gardens are where you can reconnect with nature, albeit being in the middle of a busy city.
Additionally, these green spaces combat the urban heat island effect from all the concrete and asphalt from the city’s roads, buildings, and other infrastructures. And yes, even cemeteries can serve that purpose.
Just make sure that that oasis you see is not a mirage. There should be plenty of these spaces sporadically placed all over the city to mitigate climate change successfully.
- Bike lanes
Besides having accessible public transportation, a green city would also need to have bike lanes. You shouldn’t just look for bikers, but bike lanes that encourage people to bike because they make considerably lesser air and noise pollution than cars and other forms of transportation. It also lessens traffic caused by congestion of cars and buses.
- Recycling programs
Of course, you know you will also see recycling in this list as it is one of the most classic acts of environmentalism. In a green city, you would typically see conveniently placed and labeled trash bins that allow you to separate your biodegradable from your non-biodegradable rubbish. A reliable trash collection system should also be present.
- Green infrastructures
Green buildings are infrastructures with a design that purposefully reduces or eliminates the adverse effects of climate change. These buildings could also have positive impacts on the surrounding environment.
There are several waysinfrastructure can be green. First, they have efficient usage of energy, water, and natural resources. These buildings usually use renewable energy like solar panels. Additionally, they actively reduce waste and pollution by using non-toxic, sustainable, and ethical materials and implementing reusing and recycling waste.
There should be more than one green building in green cities for it to be considered green. There should be countless green infrastructures in such cities.
- Green places
Besides green buildings, there should also be numerous green establishments in a green city. These are markets that sell locally sourced fruit and vegetables, supermarkets that sell eco-friendly products, restaurants with organic food, and houses with solar energy. Green events like eco-friendly festivals or plastic recycling activities should also be something ubiquitous in green cities.
The Future Is Green
Actively making small but radical changes in our lifestyles and choices have significant impacts on the environment and the present and future of the world we live in. It shouldn’t be difficult, especially if our future is at stake. Make green choices for a green future.