Of course, it’s impossible to calculate all your neighbors’ carbon footprints (and you would get the police called on you), but there’s no denying that a lot of people who are passionate about the environment seem to think that an extra flush of the toilet or plastic grocery bag is a serious moral offense. To truly make a difference, we need to think on a bigger scale.
Of course making smart consumer choices is important, but a green state of mind doesn’t always guarantee that your neighborhood, city or state is equipped to help people mitigate their carbon footprint.
As an example of how expectations can completely disagree with facts, a new ranking of the greenest cities in the United States shows that New York City actually outranks San Francisco and Portland.
The study, conducted by WalletHub (a personal finance site) used twelve different metrics to rank the cities. Each metric fell into one of four categories: greenest transportation, greenest energy sources, environmental quality and “green lifestyle and local policies”. The factor that makes New York top of the greenest cities to the top is transportation. Owning a car in the city is inconvenient, so nearly everyone takes public transportation or walks.
However, Portland and San Francisco are high on the list, demonstrating that their environmentally-friendly cultures and plastic bag bans have had a positive effect.
Here’s the whole list of greenest cities:
- New York, NY
- Portland, OR
- San Francisco, CA
- Washington, DC
- Honolulu, HI
- Seattle, WA
- Minneapolis, MN
- Boston, MA
- Oakland, CA
- Fremont, CA
Did any of the cities on this list surprise you?