Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


The Green City Index

A study came out last month ranking the sustainability of 27 cities in North America, and San Francisco did the Bay Area proud, topping the list. It was first in Waste (recycling over 75% of its waste), second in Buildings, Transportation and Air Quality, third in Energy, fifth in Water (average consumption is 142 gallons per person per day, compared to the average of 155 gallons), and eighth in CO2 Emissions, Land Use and Environmental Governance. Second place overall was Vancouver, followed by New York, Seattle, and Denver. Los Angeles was 7th (187 gallons of water per person), which was a surprise to me, though I guess I formed my low opinion of LA during the 90’s before a lot of recent efforts to make the city greener. Sacramento was 15th without scoring especially high at anything (20th in water, with 207 gallons per person, damn those lawns). I’m not used to seeing Sacramento included in a national study; it just barely beat the Texas cities. Neither Oakland nor Portland were included in the index, which is kind of a shame. It would be interesting to see them compared to SF; Portland is the leader in a lot of areas of sustainability, and Oakland has set many of the same goals and policies as San Francisco. These kinds of studies are always pretty broad-brush, but this one is pretty good and worth reading, especially if you live in one of the 27 cities.

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