Earth Day is a time to celebrate the beautiful world we live in, and how we can continue to preserve it. However with global warming heating up the Earth, we may only have a handful of Earth Days left to celebrate. Because of this, many countries are stepping up to the challenge, and becoming more environmentally conscious. Here are the top five most environmentally conscious countries in the world according to Yale’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI) for 2016. The index measures both ecosystem vitality and environmental health in 20 different categories including air quality, water & sanitation, and climate & energy.
- Finland – Also know as the land of a thousand lakes, Finland is a country that is covered in 88 percent forest and lakes. With a population of only 5.3 million, it is regarded as the most sparsely populated country in Europe – which helps it create very little pollution. Due to their vast forests, Finland also has a very vital forestry industry that they have turned eco-friendly by requiring the paper plants to have filters that reduce the factory’s emissions. Finland also has put in many environmental policies and forestry research that keeps their country from losing any of its majestic land to deforestation or pollution.
- Iceland – Despite it’s name, Iceland is often called “the greenest country in the world” due to its breathtaking scenery that includes waterfalls, fjords, and lava formations. However Iceland is also one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world too. The country’s is sustained 100 percent on renewable electricity from hydro and geothermal plants. Due to the country location on top of a volcanic zone, nearly 90 percent of its residents enjoy geothermal heat in their homes at a prices that are close to half the cost of oil or electric heating.
- Sweden – Sweden is a country that prides itself on its green living. According to Sweden’s country website, it is leading the way in recycling drink bottles and cans, consuming the most organic food in the EU and receiving a large amount of energy from renewable sources such a hydro and wind powered electricity. The country is also home to H&M, which is one of the leading retailers in working toward recyclable clothing and reducing waste.
- Denmark – Working hard toward a green society, Denmark’s goal is to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Currently, over 20 percent of its energy is renewable energy, which comes largely from wind turbines. The Danish are also known for their bicycle culture. According to Denmark’s website, its capital city, Copenhagen, has nearly 400km of bike paths, and approximately 40 percent of the city’s population commutes to work by bike each day.
- Slovenia – Slovenia is pushing toward becoming a greener nation starting with its capital city, Ljubljana, which was named the 2016 European Green Capital. The capital city has clean non-treated natural water, a large amount of sustainable eco-tourism, and has 542 square meters of public green space for each resident. Slovenia is also the global leader in habitat protection and species protection.