#10YearsLater and these cities should be making others ‘green’ with envy (or with hope to becoming as green as them). By Gayatri Moodliar

There are a lot of factors that go into what makes a city ‘green.’ It’s how waste is managed, how emissions are regulated, how varied the transportation options are, and what policies are in place that ensure the prioritisation of the environment. To join in the #10YearsLater trend, we thought we’d trace how these 10 cities have transformed over the last decade to reach a place that is more sustainable, and that can serve as a template to others.  

1. Reykjavik, Iceland: 

10 years later
Confusing at first, this actually shows how the city has embraced geothermal energy (R).

Already known for its reliance on geothermal energy, more than 90% of its buildings use this form of energy for heating purposes, the city plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emission to zero by 2040. Its way of making sure this happens is by encouraging citizens and tourists to walk or use cycles in order to get around—adequate infrastructure has been constructed to support this.

2. Vancouver, Canada: 

10 years later
While traffic is always a constant, Vancouver’s efforts can be visually seen through its acres of farmland that provide the backbone of the flourishing organic-produce trade.

Promoting organic farming is a strong way of fostering sustainability, and Vancouver does that through its efforts to support local farmers and their produce. The city was ranked third in the category of sustainability across North America. It also aims to reduce its waste to zero by 2040.  

3. Helsinki, Finland: 

10 years later
The electric tram (R) is the mode most citizens have learnt to adopt over the last few years.

Ideal for travellers who wish to be a part of the green journey, 75% of Helsinki’s hotels have become certified as environment friendly. It’s even home to EcoCompass, an award-winning programme that helps small to medium businesses become more sustainable.

4. Cape Town, South Africa: 

10 years later
Efforts to promote greenery in Cape Town have been met with marked success.

Cape Town is taking the lead in Africa with dedicated routes in the city for cyclists to use, along with pushing industries to opt for more renewable sources of energy.

5. San Francisco, USA: 

10 years later
Being one of the most populated cities, traffic is inevitable—but now electric scooters can be found for hire on the pavements.

The city’s Sustainable City initiative has its teammates moving around spreading vital information regarding how to reduce waste and manage it, while the public transport is mostly powered by renewable sources.

6. Portland, USA: 

10 years later
Look closely and you’ll see the windmills that line the roof of the building (R), and this is something that can be seen all through the city now.

A report states that Portland has managed to recycle 63% of its waste through sincere efforts that have been put in. This is also supported by a bustling cycling community.

7. Curitiba, Brazil:

10 years later
The bus transit system (R) has been hailed as one of the benchmarks that have formed over the decade to inspire other cities.

The city has set a global example through its intense public transport expansion, which more than 60% of the population relies on.

8. Stockholm, Sweden: 

10 years later
Most pathways have been made pedestrian-friendly, allowing people to walk instead of using vehicular transport.

Goal-setting to say the least, Stockholm plans to be fossil-fuel free by 2050. It also has plans of harnessing sewage waste to produce bio-fuel.  

9. Amsterdam, Netherlands: 

10 years later
10 years later, and the city has managed to blossom even more.

Netherlands’ largest city has progressed over the last 10 years to address the fact that its CO2 emissions aren’t anything to write home about, and so the city has set a target to reduce 34% of its emissions by 2020, and this has been worked towards through advancing public transport and forming joint ventures to target the problem. There are also easily accessible charging points for electric vehicles.  

10. Copenhagen, Denmark: 

10 years later
Known all around the world for its pathways dedicated to cycles, Copenhagen’s roads can serve as a template for others.

Consistently ranked as one of the eco-friendly cities, its roads are cycle- and cyclist-friendly, and there are mechanisms in place to regulate CO2 emissions. Citizens are encouraged to use public transport, and residences are planned so as to make sure one lives close to them.  

Related: This Climate Change Report Is Why You Need To Make Conscious Travel Choices Pronto