One thing the team here at ITravelLocal have noticed when speaking to other travellers is that as a group we tend to pay attention to pollution levels in a particular area. Its not uncommon to here “it was really dirty” or “the air was really polluted”. Now, this isn’t ideal as pollution and emissions are bad for the planet and bad for us as humans. Not to mention that they also take away from the beautiful areas we might be visiting. For some, this is a major put off regarding travel. Some travellers don’t want to be exposed to these negative forces. Others don’t they want to put money in the hands of governments or businesses that don’t make the effort toward sustainability.
If you are eco-minded you may find yourself looking to arrange visits to some cities to see just how they reduce pollution. We have decided to put the city that is widely regarded as the number one in sustainability under the microscope. This city does its best to improve the living quality of its inhabitants as well as protect our environment. The number one city in the world is Copenhagen. So, before you pack your bags to learn ways in which you can make a difference read on as we examine just how Copenhagen does it!
They Set a Goal
First and foremost the Danish government did what a lot of other governments are refusing to do. They recognised a problem and set a target to help combat it. Copenhagen aims to be a carbon-neutral city by 2025. This is a major step in the right direction. It sets a precedent for other cities who can attempt such a plan to get on board.
They Were Backed By Business
The most difficult thing for any city or country trying to change its carbon output without the backing of local businesses. Copenhagen has put a large emphasis on drawing in businesses willing to adopt cleantech. Cleantech is an industry term which means the adoption or creation of technology which will improve operational performance, productivity, or efficiency while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste, or environmental pollution. There is so much of this happening in Copenhagen that it has been dubbed a cleantech “cluster”. This is a bundle of over 500 companies all committed to reducing their eco-footprint.
They Changed the Way They Lived
The first thing people can see when they arrive in Copenhagen by plane is a sweeping array of wind turbines. This immediately shows any visitors that there is a different way of doing things here. Wind turbines currently provide 30 percent of the cities energy. By 2020, the aim is 50%. There are also very few cars on the road, with roughly 36% of trips to and from school or work being made via bike. This is one of the changes most people who come to settle in Copenhagen find the weirdest. Imagine a morning time with no rush hour traffic! They have built renovations to their infrastructure with cyclists in mind, something a lot of larger cities have failed to accommodate.
The heating system in Copenhagen is also one of the world’s most successful supplying heat taken from wasted electricity. The system cuts household bills by 1,400 EUR each year. It has also saved Copenhagen the equivalent of 203,000 tonnes of oil each year. That’s 665,000 tonnes CO2. The Danes are also recycling enthusiasts! They often run a system where a deposit is placed on bottles, so there is added incentive to return your recyclables.
The Biggest lesson to Learn
While it is great to marvel at the cities attempt to cut down on pollution we must also take on a serious lesson from it. This is no easy task and requires all of us to get involved!One city alone cannot take on the burden for the rest of the world. We must also note that this process is never finished. Copenhagen will continue to grow and will continuously adapt to help combat pollution.
For example, they expect the population of Copenhagen to increase by 100,000 people in the coming years. To combat this they have decided to add at least one hundred new wind turbines in the next dozen years! There are also demands on its population. Businesses and residential buildings are expected to reduce electricity consumption by 20 percent and 10 percent respectively, and heat consumption is to fall by 20 percent by 2025.
The people of Copenhagen are committed to making a change and we too should feel inspired to get on board! So, next time you feel compelled to take the easy option regarding our environment, think. It will need a big effort from everyone not just Copenhagen to ensure a clean and healthy environment for us all!