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Greenest cities in America

  • Greenest cities in America

    Individuals, families, universities, companies, and civic organizations all have important roles to play in the sustainability movement. There are countless ways to combat material waste to keep it out of oceans, landfills, and other trash deposits, from recycling and bringing along reusable totes, to installing solar panels and driving hybrid cars

    When it comes to making an impact on a larger scale, looking at which cities have particularly eco-engaged citizens, companies, and local governments reveals just how much of an impact environmental initiatives can have.

    It turns out that not all cities are equal in their sustainability efforts. Seventy-four percent of Americans agree that the country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment, according to 2016 polling data. But certain places are more likely to follow this thought with considered action. A careful analysis of how green behaviors vary geographically reveals that some cities are far more concerned with environmental friendliness than others. Using a WalletHub study, Stacker listed the 100 greenest cities in the United States according to a handful of metrics, which are explained in detail here.

    WalletHub determined the greenest cities in America for 2018 by comparing the 100 largest cities in the nation across 26 key indicators in four categories: environment, transportation, energy sources, and lifestyle and policy. These indicators include air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, the share of commuters who walk and bike to work, the share of electricity from renewable sources, community garden plots per capita, and others. They graded each of these 26 metrics on a 100-point scale (with a score of 100 representing the greatest practices and policies), then each city’s total green score was determined through a weighted average across all indicators.

    Read on to see how your city compares to the nation’s most environmentally friendly.

    You may also like: Cities with the most green space per capita

  • #100. Baton Rouge, LA

    - Total score: 36.07 (down 0.36 from 2017; 2017 rank: #99)
    - Environment rank: #95 (2017 rank: #92)
    - Transportation rank: #95 (2017 rank: #97)
    - Energy sources rank: #93 (2017 rank: #95)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #99 (2017 rank: #86)

    Although Baton Rouge isn’t famous for its environmental prowess, the city was recently designated as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation. The award recognizes cities that have dedicated civic resources to urban forestry, including spending resources on planting new trees. The city lost its Tree City status for decades, but regained the honor in 2018.

  • #99. Corpus Christi, TX

    - Total score: 36.53 (up 0.12 from 2017; 2017 rank: #100)
    - Environment rank: #100 (2017 rank: #97)
    - Transportation rank: #81 (2017 rank: #72)
    - Energy sources rank: #43 (2017 rank: #46)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #82 (2017 rank: #88)

    The Port of Corpus Christi is making strides toward sustainability with its Environmental Management System. For 10 years in a row, the port has received the highest level of certification for its operations and systems.

  • #98. St. Louis, MO

    - Total score: 39.53 (down 5.69 from 2017; 2017 rank: #71)
    - Environment rank: #80 (2017 rank: #54)
    - Transportation rank: #80 (2017 rank: #83)
    - Energy sources rank: #84 (2017 rank: #82)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #54 (2017 rank: #42)

    St. Louis is famous for its green spaces. Forest Park, in the center of the city, was built for the 1904 World’s Fair, and is lovingly maintained by prominent civic organization Forest Park Forever. Elsewhere in the city, a butterfly house and a botanical garden furthers the city’s commitment to the environment.

  • #97. Toledo, OH

    - Total score: 40.31 (up 1.52 from 2017; 2017 rank: #94)
    - Environment rank: #81 (2017 rank: #89)
    - Transportation rank: #83 (2017 rank: #80)
    - Energy sources rank: #100 (2017 rank: #100)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #47 (2017 rank: #18)

    Among Toledo’s sustainability projects is Living Green Saving Green, a public-private partnership that outfits pre-existing residential properties with eco-friendly fixtures like low-flow toilets and shower heads and programmable thermostats. The program helps show the financial benefits of making sustainable improvements.

  • #96. Memphis, TN

    - Total score: 40.98 (up 0.13 from 2017; 2017 rank: #89)
    - Environment rank: #64 (2017 rank: #78)
    - Transportation rank: #63 (2017 rank: #98)
    - Energy sources rank: #87 (2017 rank: #73)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #100 (2017 rank: #51)

    Greenbox Memphis is among Memphis’ many eco-friendly organizations. The company provides a no-waste system for people to move homes or offices, eliminating the need for cardboard boxes and other materials. Another is Go Green, a group of Memphis Zoo employees who work to make the zoo more eco-friendly and educate patrons on environmental sustainability.

  • #95. Detroit, MI

    - Total score: 41.57 (up 0.53 from 2017; 2017 rank: #88)
    - Environment rank: #73 (2017 rank: #72)
    - Transportation rank: #36 (2017 rank: #33)
    - Energy sources rank: #94 (2017 rank: #94)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #85 (2017 rank: #89)

    Detroit is experiencing a renaissance, including a new green district. The neighborhood includes buildings designed or equipped to consume less energy and water and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Over 3 million square feet of the city have been dedicated to this project.

  • #94. Lexington-Fayette, KY

    - Total score: 41.83 (up 2.39 from 2017; 2017 rank: #93)
    - Environment rank: #89 (2017 rank: #93)
    - Transportation rank: #74 (2017 rank: #69)
    - Energy sources rank: #91 (2017 rank: #92)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #50 (2017 rank: #26)

    Lexington-Fayette has made efforts in recent years to become more environmentally friendly. Residents clean up river banks together on weekend mornings, making it into a social event by having picnic lunches along the river. There’s even a local radio show every Monday morning dedicated to the discussion of eco-friendly living.

  • #93. Mesa, AZ

    - Total score: 41.97 (down 2.50 from 2017; 2017 rank: #76)
    - Environment rank: #91 (2017 rank: #71)
    - Transportation rank: #84 (2017 rank: #76)
    - Energy sources rank: #56 (2017 rank: #57)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #78 (2017 rank: #69)

    The city of Mesa has taken several sustainability measures in recent years, like educating citizens on how to collect and store rainwater. The city also provides credits for installing solar energy in commercial and residential buildings.

  • #92. Cleveland, OH

    - Total score: 42.02 (up 2.56 from 2017; 2017 rank: #92)
    - Environment rank: #86 (2017 rank: #87)
    - Transportation rank: #34 (2017 rank: #32)
    - Energy sources rank: #86 (2017 rank: #84)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #53 (2017 rank: #65)

    Cleveland has an ambitious municipal-sustainability plan that includes reducing landfill waste, lowering water consumption and costs, and streamlining the city’s sustainability groups to make each more effective. The city already has successes under its belt, including a plastic bag recycling initiative, and an influx of bicycle riders after the creation of a citywide bike map.

  • #91. Gilbert, AZ

    - Total score: 42.21 (up 1.90 from 2017; 2017 rank: #90)
    - Environment rank: #76 (2017 rank: #88)
    - Transportation rank: #99 (2017 rank: #94)
    - Energy sources rank: #56 (2017 rank: #57)
    - Lifestyle & policy rank: #83 (2017 rank: #46)

    Gilbert has been a leader in the public-private partnership space, creating a designation awarded to businesses that display a commitment to the environment, including reducing pollution, water conservation, and waste reduction. The program also works with businesses to help reduce their eco-footprints.

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