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Seattle is known for having one of the top recycling rates in the country, and the city placed a ban on putting recyclable materials in the trash. City workers will not pick up trash that contains more than 10 percent recyclable material. Each major neighborhood in the city also has its own farmers market where you can purchase locally-produced fruits, vegetables, and other products.
I live in a Boston suburb that is on the verge of a very exciting clean energy project. Just recently, the city has started thinking about constructing a windmill in an open, unused space on the property of our public golf course. I’m an avid golfer who’s lived on this course for the past eight years, and the space is perfect. The windmill could generate enough power to power the course’s clubhouse (which includes city offices), as well as a couple of the city’s elementary schools. It’s very exciting, and hopefully the plan will go through!
Like gcraig, I’m also from Seattle and it’s a very bike-friendly city. I don’t bike as much as I should, but there are bike lanes everywhere, even on highways. It makes biking to and from work a legitimate mode of transportation for many, as long as they are willing to weather a bit of rain.
Vancouver Washington has a council on sustainability that drafts up certain goals. We have decent recycling programs and our power provider Clark Public Utilities stresses taking care of the environment. They even sponsor “stream stewards” to help with local wetlands. There is unfortunately a good amount of sprawl here but living in the Evergreen State people pay attention to the nature around them.
Washington D.C. launched the first bikesharing program in the nation back in 2008. People that join Capitol Bikeshare can pay for a membership lasting a single week of bike-use, or anything up to a full year. There are 114 stations around the metro area where you take or dock (drop off) your borrowed bike. This has cut the number of people using other less eco-friendly means of transportation, and the bikeshare currently has 1600+ members.
Additionally, I think it’s great that DC instated the plastic bag tax. Customers at stores that dispense single use plastic grocery bags are charged 5 cents when they use bags. The tax encourages environmentally-consciousness, and more people are using canvas bags for their shopping. Since the tax has been put in place people use over 19 million plastic bags less per month – woo! DC uses their plastic bag tax revenue to help clean up the Anacostia River.
Seattle has a lot of eco-friendly aspects. gcraig already noted Seattle’s great recycling program, but another cool fact about Seattle is that residents receive some of the “cleanest power in the nation” (http://www.seattle.gov/environment/energy.htm). We already get about 50% of our power from hydropower and are continuously working on increasing that percentage.
Sacramento has a really good recycling program and community composting program currently. It also has plans to become a hub for clean technology. The Greenwise Initiative was released in January of 2011 by Mayor Kevin Johnson, and it outlines the objectives, strategies and actions to attract clean technology and train a qualified workforce to maintain the clean technology. This is important because Sacramento has a very high unemployment rate, and this is a way to create job in the long-term that is also sustainable. It is a step in the right direction.
Living in New York City for the past year and a half I felt more green than I have in my entire life. Since the city is completely reliant and based on public transportation very few people in the city or boroughs even have cars. Bicycling is a huge form of transportation and my favorite in the city. The accessibility to everything on a bike is incredible and the bike lanes in the city are on almost every road. Union Square’s Farmers Market is excellent and offers all local grown produce, meat, dairy, and home goods for sale. Besides Union Square there are farmers markets in every neighborhood on a weekly basis. Also I have been seeing more and more people participating in community gardens or planting their own on rooftops. The organic and vegetarian community is very strong here and there are so many restaurants that cater to this which is few and far between in many places.
Looks like many of us are from Seattle! To add to what has already been said, almost every place you go, there are both trash bins and recycle bins. When I went hiking recently, at the trailhead near the restrooms, there were several bins for trash and several bins for recycling. On the ferry boats, there are bins for trash, newspaper, and bottles/cans. Even many places on the city streets downtown Seattle, there are recycling bins right next to the trash cans. It’s hard NOT to recycle in Seattle.
Not a thing, I live in a vacation community around a huge lake. There is no bus service, no bike lanes, no car pool lots and lots of hills. People want to live near the lake, but all the shopping etc is far from the lake shore. So if you want to go anywhere a car must be taken. Recently a freeway by pass has been completed which has alleviated much of the traffic congestion, so that may be the most eco-friendly thing they have done. Oh wait, 10 miles of trees were cut down and who know how many tons of rock was blasted. I want to move to a city like Seattle when I retire.
The city of Austin has implemented a Zero Waste Plan with the goal of reducing landfill waste by 90 percent by the year 2040. The city includes recyling carts with street garbage service to increase recycling rates of plastics, paper, and aluminum. The clean economy growth rate in the city is at 5.3%, higher than the national average due to strong educational programs at area community colleges for associates diplomas in solar panel installation. There is also a strong community of green architects aided by the Universtiy of Texas’ School of Architecture, increasing the number of LEED certified buildings within the area.
One of Mayor Daley’s more positive legacies will be his leadership in sustainable building design, particularly his green roof initiative. Chicago is a perennial national leader among American cities when it comes to green roof installation. In 2001, Daley even installed a green roof on the top of City Hall as part of his Urban Heat Island Initiative.
Woo! San Diego, California (: We have wonderful restaurants that make it a point to cook with local organic produce such as Alchemy that serves dishes according to the seasons. A wide variety of people commute with bus, trolley or train, myself included. We have a lot of cyclist clubs that people get really into. A lot of the stores here are incorporating the use of recyclable bags like Albertsons, Vons, Urban Outfitters, etc. The hotels we have are eco-friendly by using environmentally friendly cleaning systems. Banks around the world are becoming more conscientious by eliminating their paper trail such as all online banks like Ally. As Lauralulee stated about New York City, here in San Diego we also have farmers markets that set up booths on tuesdays and saturdays not to mention the pre-existing farmers markets such as Henry’s, Whole Foods and Fresh and Easy all within a pleasant range of each other. Also, Balboa Park is here which is home to the largest congregation of people for EarthFest ^.^
New York: The City that Never Sleeps. You wouldn’t think that all the hustle and bustle of New York is very eco-friendly; and while in some ways you’d be right, in others you couldn’t be further from the truth. As I discussed in my blog article, densely populated areas produce less CO2 per capita than rural areas. New York scores a point there. In addition, the transit system is constantly finding new ways in which to lower energy consumption. A few years ago I remember seeing advertisements telling the public about new brakes that conserve electricity. Great!
Most buildings in NYC are without central air, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and even sink garbage disposals. We share washers and dryers, do dishes by hand, and cool certain rooms. Obviously not everyone in New York City does this, but a lot of people live without these luxuries. Thus we are pretty eco-friendly!
I’m from Portland, OR. On July 21 the mayor and commisioners voted unanimously to ban single-use plastic checkout bags in the city. We’re ranked the second most bike friendly city in the world, due to an extensive series of bike paths. Portland also has the first program to get low-income adults commuter bikes. There’s also a big local food movement; it’s easy to get locally sourced produce and meat from nearby farms.
San Francisco was one of the first cities to ban plastic bags and Styrofoam packaging in its supermarkets and restaurants. Now food usually come in recyclable plastic boxes or biodegradable boxes, and our shopping bags are biodegradable too. It costs more to produce these new containers, but San Francisco has taken a stance on costs vs. the environment!
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