Since Malaysia and perhaps all of Asia for that matter, are now working towards a more sustainable lifestyle and culture, it’s good to have some role models to look up to.
There are about 20 cities in the world at the moment that are setting the benchmark for us all, and in this article, we’re going to look at the first 10. Perhaps they might also inspire you to go green, and serve as your next trip’s destination as well?
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen has been on the list for yonks, and it’s no surprise why. Sustainability has been so ingrained in their culture that it seems almost blasphemous to go against it. Most, if not all, Danes are two-wheeled commuters who cycle to work. If you’re ever in the city, hop on a bicycle yourself and you’ll pass buildings with green roofs (which are mandatory for all new flat-roofed structures there), restaurants that make full use of would-be waste products, and Cykelslangen (a purpose-built cycle bridge that overlooks the city’s harbour which carries solar-powered picnic boats).
2. Stockholm, Sweden
Things are very interesting in Stockholm (such as contributing your waste to power public transport, among other things), and also very green. Their passion for being eco-friendly has earned them the top list of the Global Green Economy Index nearly every year. One of their more fascinating laws is the ‘Allemansrätt’, which gives people and true nature lovers the freedom to roam around the region’s countryside.
3. Vancouver, Canada
Ranked as one of the greenest cities on the planet, Vancouver is not only surrounded by nature, but also by people who constantly push for its preservation. Here, people can be seen walking, cycling or taking electric buses and hybrid taxis. This city is also responsible for Greenpeace, a non-governmental environmental organisation, which was founded in 1971, and now with offices in over 39 countries.
Singapore has not only made 1,650 buildings environmentally friendly since 2005, but the country is so driven in their environmental preservation movements that their Public Utilities Board came up with a strategy to catch rainwater, invested in desalination plants and wastewater reclamation (the recycled water is known as NEWater and produces high-quality drinking water). Apart from that, the Singaporean government has also pledged to increase the recycling rate to 70% by 2030.
5. Helsinki, Finland
Speaking of pledges, the Finnish government has made a promise to eradicate the usage of cars and car ownership by 2025 and it will all start in the capital, Helsinki. Apparently, the aim is to have on-demand buses arrive at the tap of a smartphone. Once you pool this is in with the city’s vast forest reserves and strict eco-policies, it’s a no-brainer that this city is one of the greenest in Europe.
6. Curitiba, Brazil
If you haven’t heard of this city, or aren’t familiar with it, you’re not alone. This city was predominantly known as an outpost for São Paulo and its surroundings, but it has actually become one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world lately due to its super-efficient bus rapid transit system which serves 85% of its residents, a Green Exchange programme where residents exchange trash for food, and an effective recycling system (they recycle up to 70% of their garbage!).
7. San Francisco, USA
Out of all the cities in America, San Francisco takes the cup for being the most eco-friendly. It was the first city to ban single-use plastic bags back in 2007, and it also has the highest per-capita of eco-friendly services such as green engineers, architects and cleaning services.
Nobody can argue with the fact that Iceland is probably one of the most stunning places in the whole world. Its natural beauty is one thing, but the country is also located in one of the most tectonically active places in the world (with a large sum of volcanoes, hot springs, glaciers and waterfalls), which supplies almost all of the country’s electricity consumption. Hence, Iceland is the world’s largest green energy producers per capita!
9. Oslo, Norway
Oslo’s DNA is embedded with the term sustainability, and the Norwegians are famed for continually finding ways to do better each year. After all, Oslo’s list of eco-certified hotels keep growing each year, and the city is also known for Vulkan — an eco-friendly neighbourhood with 300-metre-deep geothermal wells that heat buildings in the winter, and keep them cool in the summer.
10. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Pronounced loo-blah-na or lyoo-blyah-na, this city is the first in Europe to take part in the zero waste programme. As such, they have managed to create and preserve public green areas which now make up a third of the city’s territory. You’d be hard-pressed to find people driving cars, as they would either be travelling on foot or on bicycles. They were also the winner of 2016’s European Green Capital title.
EXPERIENCE GREEN CITIES ACROSS THE WORLD: Kiwi.com offers flights to Copenhagen, San Francisco, Oslo and beyond. Book your flights here.
Travel Responsibly Anywhere, Everywhere You Go
To preserve and protect the environment and the local community’s livelihood in Southeast Asia, AirAsia has launched +Me campaign, in support of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Here’s how you can play a part in this movement:
1. Share your sustainable living/travel tips on social media with hashtags #AirAsia and #plusme; or
2. Share this article; or
3. If you’re on WeChat:
- Follow AirAsia and launch chat with Customer Support team
- Type “加我(name)”, e.g. “加我Samuel”
- An e-pledge will be generated easily for your social sharing!
For more articles like this, read here.