Lately Malmö has been in the news for bombings, gang fights, shootings. Happy things really. But just the other day an article came out praising Malmö for its commitment to being green. As in environmentally friendly.
According to the article, 5 Amazing Green Cities, from How Stuff Works, “Model cities are ranked by a combination of criteria. These include urban planning and environmental statistics. They encompass energy sources, consumption and emissions, as well as transportation options and habits.” So it takes a lot to be considered a model green city. Of the five listed, one is Swedish, one is Danish, one is Icelandic, one is American, and one is Canadian. That in and of itself is kind of interesting because you have three Nordic countries, and then Portland and Vancouver are both in the Pacific northwest of North America. Seems very much like there is some sort of geographic thing going on.
Sweden in general is considered pretty green. You recycle everything. Some cities have multiple trash cans so you can sort everything properly. Källsortering. It’s kind of a pain at first but you get used to it. And then you go back to the US and ask silly questions like “where does the soft plastic go?” or you flatten all cardboard boxes and try to find out where they can be recycled. In other words, it becomes very much a part of your everyday interaction with trash.
Now, with that mindset you would imagine someplace that isn’t beset by gang violence would be the greener city. Like Stockholm for example. Apparently, you would be wrong.
Malmö takes the cake, for the most part because of its use of sustainable energy. The article also mentions that the city is “pedestrian and cycle friendly.” But so is the entire country so that doesn’t really impress me that much. What did impress me was that an entire neighborhood (a former shipyard) in the city run on solar, hydro, and wind energy. Considering the rise in oil prices and the discussion in the US about oil independence and regardless of your stance on global warming, it’s kind of cool to see that renewable energy can be used successfully in larger areas.
Sweden does good work when it comes to this sort of thing. I would be interested though to know how much it costs to make an entire neighborhood run on renewable energy.
But if you’re looking for green places to live, look no further than Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries. Or the Pacific Northwest if you want to stay over on that side of the Atlantic.
Welcome to Sweden.