In the past few years, people started talking about how polluted the Earth is and why everyone should start to care and have more eco awareness. That really got me thinking: we really do live like animals and if we don’t start doing something, who knows how long the Earth will let us live here. So I started recycling everything I could. I turn off the lights and other electrical appliances if I am not using them. Many European cities have also started to do the same by making their public transport system better, reducing noise, making sure the air and the water is clean, recycling.
I found out, that Europe has this award that it gives to a different city each year called “European Green Capital”. The idea of this was conceived at a meeting in TALLINN in 2006! What a coincidence! I’m going to Tallinn this summer!
The award is meant to inspire other cities to become greener. In order to be eligible for the award, a European city’s population has to be at least 200 thousand and it has to really be taking care of the environment and safe and healthy conditions.
The first European Green Capital was named STOCKHOLM in 2010. 95% of the cities population lives less than 300 metres from green areas, there is little noise and pollution. Du thirds of the population use public transport, bikes or go on foot. Transport emissions are relatively low, and all trains and inner city buses run on renewable fuels. The water in Stockholm is super clean, that many people go fishing in the city center!
In 2011, HAMBURG (Germany) was picked as Europe’s greenest capital. It is Europe’s third largest port and a big industrial city situated on the banks of the river Elbe. Hamburg has a great public transport system, many forests, parks which have good pathways. There are also public bikes anybody can use.
2012’s European Green Capital is VITORIA-GASTEIZ (Spain). The city was founded in 1181 and is second in size in the Bilbao region. It’s a beautiful medieval city with many green places which take up a third of the cities territory. The residents of Vitoria-Gasteiz don’t really use their own cars and rather go by public transport or bikes. Vitoria-Gasteiz id promoting ecological farming, use of solar energy. Kids are also being taught about going green at schools.
NANTES– France’s 6th largest city will be Europe’s Greenest Capital in 2013. It was actually named “the most livable city in Europe ” by Times Magazine in 2004. Nantes is focusing on public transport, bike trails and sidewalks, parks.
Many cities have already applied to be named Europe’s Greenest Capital in 2014. They are: Newcastle, Stoke-on-Trent, Bristol, Rotterdam, Antwerpen, Brussels, Gent, Paris, Frankfurt am Main, Zaragoza, Torino, Vienna, Ljubljana, Brasov, Thessaloniki, Bursa, Trabzon, Tampere, Copenhagen.
The next call will launch on the 15th June 2012. This call will be to find the winning city for 2015.
Which city do you think will be Europe’s Greenest Capital 2014?