The Most Environmentally Friendly Countries
With the world changing everyday due to the effects of global warming, pollution, and various other environmental problems, it is our responsibility as inhabitants of earth to do whatever we can to preserve our land.
Many countries around the world have already begun their work towards a greener and cleaner environment while other countries still have a long way to go. It is important to understand that while all of us around the world have this responsibility to keep our environments clean and safe, not everyone has the privilege or resources to do much. Such countries can be developing third world countries, countries with many industrial and production facilities that cause pollution, countries with high levels of poverty, countries in the middle of a war, or even countries that are still suffering from the aftermath of a war that happened years ago.
However, there are still many countries that have already accomplished so much in terms of becoming environmentally friendly. Surprisingly and unfortunately, the United States did not make it to this list of environmentally friendly countries. It will be explained later on why the US has not made the cut. From the list below, you will probably notice that most of these environmentally friendly countries are in Europe or more in the Nordic region.
1. Finland (EPI Score: 78.9)
Ranked number 7 according to Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index results, Finland is said to have the cleanest air in all of Europe. On top of that, more than 80% of Finland’s lakes and rivers are clean and void of any harmful treatment. Basically, Finland barely has any form of pollution. How do they do this, and especially maintain it when living in a society where technology and production are at their highest?
2. Iceland (EPI Score: 72.3)
Iceland is another environmentally friendly country, and it ranks high in health impacts, climate and energy, and air quality. Iceland is located in an area that puts them at an advantage for a lot of these environmentally friendly aspects. 25% of Iceland’s power comes from natural sources as opposed to man-made sources that are bad for the environment. Their electricity comes completely from renewable sources such as wind and hydro power.
3. Sweden (EPI Score: 78.7)
Sweden was not always environmentally friendly. The early 1990's is when this country started making big moves towards becoming environmentally friendly. They did this by using alternative forms of heating to the typical hot water and heat system, which helped them reduce and nearly eliminate the production and spread of greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Luxembourg (EPI Score: 82.3)
In 2017, Luxembourg enacted a water act which grants farmers a sum of money they use to prevent groundwater contamination. Along with that, less funds are spent towards sewage treatment plants that don’t work sustainably or abiding by today’s clean standards. This country has also put a plan in place which will help Luxembourg restore their ecosystems, which can include taking care of their waters to make sure aquatic life is taken care of as well.
5. Switzerland (EPI Score: 81.5)
Switzerland’s environmental policy is what makes the country among the most environmentally friendly. Not only does Switzerland stress the importance of recycling, it also promotes renewable energy sources as well as responsible consumption of resources. One unique thing this environmentally friendly country has implemented is a carbon tax. The carbon tax increases the price of products or services that have produce emissions. Doing so encourages organizations and residents of Switzerland to find greener, more environmentally friendly alternatives.
6. Denmark (EPI Score: 82.5)
Denmark’s pristine groundwater is one of the in the world, and they have their country’s sustainable efforts to thank for this. They put much of their effort into purifying their wastewater through the use of advanced water treatment plants. They also try their hardest to protect their aquatic life.
7. Slovenia (EPI Score: 72)
Even though Slovenia’s air quality is not the best due to the presence of nitrogen dioxide and other common airborne pollutants in their air. However, they still score high for their habitat protection. They take care of their species as well as their forests and other natural habitats.
8. Germany (EPI Score: 77.2)
Germany is already 1/3 forest, and they have maintained and conserved said forested areas really well. One specific town in Germany, called Freiburg, has done a lot in terms of helping the environment. For example, many local laws were created to ensure houses used less than the normal amount of heating energy per year. Along with that, you’re able to see solar panels installed on many of the buildings in this town.
9. Norway (EPI Score: 77.7)
Norway has strict yet effective government policies regarding their environment, which is what makes them an environmentally friendly country. One of their best policies include a deforestation ban, which clearly shows that they are very much committed and motivated towards the environment and sustainability in general. On top of that, Norway’s energy and power system is 100% renewable.
10. Netherlands (EPI Score: 75.3)
The Netherlands is a world leader in the agriculture industry, and it is also a coastal lowland with windmills which are most likely supplying the nation’s energy.
11. United Kingdom (EPI Score: 81.3)
The United Kingdom has a no plastic policy that actually started from Queen Elizabeth. In 2018, the Queen enacted a ban on plastic at all the royal estates. However, royalty does have a lot of influence on the citizens of the United Kingdom, so many businesses, restaurants, and grocery stores also followed suit by banning plastic straws, plastic bottles, and plastic bags too. Instead, there are more sustainable alternatives such as biodegradable take out containers and recyclable paper products. And like some other European countries, the United Kingdom encourages its citizens to use electric cars instead of the usual gas fueled cars, and there is a very encouraging incentive that comes with this.
12. France (EPI Score: 80)
France has done a lot towards becoming an environmentally friendly country. The country has enacted the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act (LTECV) and the Multiannual Energy Programme (PPE). The former is France’s guide to help them reduce their dependence on energy, their goal by the year 2050 to reduce energy consumption by 50% and to reduce the use of fossil fuels as well. The latter is about energy efficiency in France. This means the country is encouraging the use of environmentally friendly transport, and to encourage them further, they offer people “bonuses” for switching from fossil fueled products and services to greener alternatives.
13. Austria (EPI Score: 79.6)
Austria is known for its organic farming along with their practices and systems for waste management, air pollution, and chemical use. The farmers in Austria have eliminated the use of artificial fertilizers, and they do their best to recycle farm waste.
14. Malta (EPI Score: 70.7)
Malta’s high EPI ranking comes from their water. They have high quality drinking water, the best water sanitation practices, and one of the best wastewater treatments. However, Malta is also at a bit of a disadvantage because water is a scarce resource and they have low levels of rainfall along with high temperatures, which in turn results in low amounts of natural water sources. That’s why the price of water is also significantly high in Malta.
What About the United States?
While the United States was on the list of the most environmentally friendly countries in terms of their EPI index, it wasn’t on the top 20 according to Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index report of 2020. The United States ranked 24 with an EPI of 69.3. Even though this nation has been making significant changes such as charging customers a few extra cents for using plastic bags at grocery stores, it still has a long way to go. Not only that, but politicians have been flipping back and forth on their interest in coal companies, which are not in the best interests of the environment unlike the alternatives such as solar and wind energies.
However, Sourgum Waste does its best to reverse the damage done to the environment. We do this by planting a tree in a deforested area for each dumpster rented from us. Doing so can eventually help us achieve our goal of carbon neutrality in the field of waste management. Learn more about Sourgum Waste's environmental efforts
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