While it may seem that green living and environmental friendliness are hard to be measured with exact accuracy and compared among different countries, the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy has come up with the universally accepted scale, called Environmental Performance Index (EPI).
The EPI ranks 180 countries in terms of their environmental consciousness, determined by 9 factors which fall in one of two categories: protection of human health or protection of ecosystems. The 9 factors are: agriculture, air quality, biodiversity and habitat, climate and energy, forest, fisheries, health impacts, water resources, and water and sanitation.
Texas Electricity Ratings brings you the top 10 countries for green living, according to the EPI rankings for 2018, and outlines what has earned them their respectable places.
Finland is a prime example of hearing the wake-up call of the environment and turning policies around.
In the 80s, the country had notoriously high rates of nitrogen emission, but over the last few years, it has been consistently ranked in the top 10 most environmentally conscious nations, and even as number 1.
Finland has placed a great focus on renewable energy, with their “goal of consuming 38% of their final energy from renewable resources by 2020” being “legally binding.” They are certainly on the right track, as two-thirds of their electricity already comes from renewable or nuclear power sources.
Scandinavia altogether deserves praise, as all countries in this region have vowed to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Ireland’s place in the top 10 is largely attributed to the country’s emphasis on marine conservation, with four new inshore Marine Conservation Zones having been established to protect clams, the habitat of rare black guillemots, seagrass meadows, and a type of soft coral.
Austria is an absolute role model in organic farming. The country employs education on pollution and ecological damages, caused by irresponsible agricultural practices. Their restriction on pesticide use is a true testament to their serious attitude.
Furthermore, Austria has channeled serious efforts into improving waste and chemical management and reducing air pollution and deforestation.
Luxembourg joins the top 10 with their government’s coalition agreement on environmentally conscious policies for the period between 2018 and 2023. Those policies will aim to reverse the loss of biodiversity and maintain and improve water quality, largely by minimalizing the use of pesticides, as well as to protect the connectivity and health of ecosystems.
Furthermore, Luxembourg will be looking to generate a circular economy in which waste will be a resource rather than something to be disposed of.
Diesel cars will be reduced in order to improve air quality.
For the first time in 2016, wind power surpassed coal power plants in electricity generation in the UK, which was a major win and an undisputable validation that the country is on the right path to a green future. To build on this success, government bodies have vowed to eliminate coal power by 2025.
Pretty much ever since environmental consciousness has been a topic of discussion, Sweden was been one of the countries leading the conversation in the right direction.
For starters, by 2020, the nation wants to be done with fossil fuels and instead seeks to embrace renewable sources of energy. This would tremendously improve the state of the environment, especially in terms of air quality.
Also, in the spirit of common efforts and good, Sweden works together with its neighboring countries to preserve the Baltic Sea and the ecosystem.
Malta’s high rank is largely attributed to the implementation of a project, called “Together against Air Pollution from Ships,” aiming to designate a Sulphur Emission Control Area in which stricter control on ships’ fuel use will apply.
Malta’s initiative goes to show that while a greener future is a global affair, it goes through area-specific insight and action.
Denmark is another country that has become an epitome of environmental consciousness over the years, and its way of making our future greener is by producing and exporting clean air solutions across various sectors, amounting to nearly a $1 billion per year.
France has been striving to deindustrialize its ways, which has been showing in the improvement of water quality. Furthermore, the country has pledged to move toward renewable energy, and what better testament to that than the world’s first solar panel road being in Normandy village?
Switzerland is an all-around leader in pretty much everything, and taking the lead here is certainly a reason for hope. In addition to its focus on renewable energy, the country’s laws against the industrialization of farmlands have contributed a great deal to the state of its environment, which is a world-famous picture of idyll.
These are the top 10 countries for green living in 2018 whose example we should all try to follow, on both an individual and national level.