What is a green city? (with photos)

A green city encourages building energy efficient homes.

Today, many mayors are working to focus their cities on the environmental movement. For many of these mayors, their goal is to convert their city into a green city. In thriving to achieve green status, leaders are taking action to improve air quality, reduce the use of non-renewable resources, encourage the construction of green homes, offices and other structures, set aside more green space, support environmentally friendly methods of transportation and offer recycling programs.

Seattle is among the American cities considered green cities.

On February 16, 2005, an international agreement on climate disturbance, the Kyoto Protocol, was ratified by over 140 countries. At that time, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels decided to promote the aspirations of the Kyoto Protocol in Seattle. He also encouraged other cities in the United States to follow suit, urging those in leadership positions to consider adopting the principles of the Kyoto Protocol through the Climate Protection Agreement; thus creating a green city. As of June 2005, 141 mayors had applied. By early 2009, the Accord had been signed by 935 mayors, affecting more than 83 million citizens.

Green cities reserve space for residents to enjoy the outdoors.

The Climate Protection Agreement is part of the basic structure of a green city. Through the Agreement, cities agree on three action points:

1. Attempt to meet or exceed the targets set in the Kyoto Protocol for their own cities through anti-expansion policies for forest restoration and education of the population on environmental issues;

2. Encourage the state and federal government to establish policies to meet or exceed the greenhouse gas reduction target established by the Kyoto Protocol for the United States – which was a reduction of 1990 levels by 7% by 2012;

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3. Encouraging legislation to reduce greenhouse gases and establish a system for treating national greenhouse gas emissions.

Encouraging green building techniques, such as green roofs, is one way to strive for a greener future.

Every year, major cities are invited to apply for an award, proving that they are a green city. There are a few cities that consistently achieve this status: Boulder, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington – to name just a few. Each year, new cities are added to the list as the importance of environmentalism becomes more widespread.

The green city movement seeks the federal government to establish policies to meet or exceed the greenhouse gas reduction targets set out in the Kyoto Protocol.

For people looking to start their lives in a green city, a little research can reveal wonders in the path the city is taking. For example, a green city will have little fuel exhaust pollution. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has an Air Quality Index that rates the ozone and particulates found in the air for cities in the US. In addition, a green city will support and encourage eco-friendly public transport and provide carpool lanes, bike lanes and plenty of sidewalks and walking trails within the city.

A green city typically already uses or plans to use alternative fuels. These fuels can include biomass, hydropower, geothermal, solar and wind. Cities that use these alternative fuels are listed on government green energy websites. It will also have lots of green spaces and a municipal recycling program. Finally, you will have safe, high-quality drinking water that exceeds drinking water standards.

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