Traditionally, going green in American cities hasn’t been a top priority. We pale in comparison to the efforts put forth in many European countries. The efforts in the United States, however, have hit roadblock after roadblock. This is a multifaceted problem, brought about by understanding, competition, politics and economics.
However, despite all of that, some cities have decided to take matters into their own hands. They’ve chosen to give green energy the green light, and have made efforts to support it. Part of that might be driven by the local aspectst — sunny places are more likely to gravitate toward solar power for example — but the push is real, and it’s gaining momentum.
If you plan to travel this summer and you’re looking to travel green, there are a few options you can investigate. Here we can take a look at 3 cities that are making serious efforts to reduce their carbon footprints.
It shouldn’t be too surprising to hear Honolulu is leading the charge for green initiatives. The city is well positioned for solar, wind and certainly geothermal power. So it shouldn’t be surprising to learn the city has decided to set the ambitious goal of being run entirely on renewable energy sources by 2050.
Currently, the city of Honolulu is famous for its clean air and the plethora of residents who use solar power. With about 12% of the city’s residents using solar power, the highest in the nation, Honolulu is currently a battleground for electricity. Electrical companies are losing money but are still being forced to provide the infrastructure for these new systems. How this plays out in the long-term could provide an interesting perspective for the rest of the country.
Having a major tourist attraction seems to be a good thing for a city’s carbon footprint. Orlando seems to be doing pretty well, and there have been recent reports of a company that plans to build a solar farm there shaped like — you guessed it — Mickey Mouse’s head!
In addition, Orlando has been working to team up with other cities to try and reduce traffic, something any tourist is going to be a fan of. A private company in the state is working on new public transportation initiatives, which will allow people to travel by rail from Orlando to Miami, with stops in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
This means those who would find it cheaper to fly into Fort Lauderdale won’t have to rent a car for the trek up to Disney World. Instead, they can just hop on the train and spend the time relaxing before they have to deal with the crowds and bustle.
In addition to a train within the state, there’s also an auto-train that runs from Washington D.C. down to Orlando. An auto-train is a train you can take your car on; you can just drive it up, lock it, and grab a room to rest in. It’s much cheaper, safer and better for the environment.
NYC isn’t always considered the greenest city, but it’s top of the line in terms of public transportation. The number of people who walk or ride public transport to and from work is high, higher than most other cities in the U.S.
In addition, the tightly packed metropolis has become very good at building small, which may make you feel cramped, but it is actually better for the environment.
Combine those factors with the green initiatives former Mayor Michael Bloomburg announced, and you have a city that’s making serious steps toward a lighter footprint (pun intended). Mr. Bloomburg announced about 30 ideas back in 2009, including making the taxis more environmentally friendly, cutting greenhouse emissions, and creating more green spaces throughout the city. They are slowly but surely making headway.
So no matter what part of the country you plan to visit, you can find areas that are green. It might be easier to find them out in the country, but don’t limit yourself. Part of the fun of travel is finding new things and learning about new ideas. Get out there and get inspired!
Image by Life of Pix
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