Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, is one of the world’s leading environmentally friendly cities. It is currently hoping to reduce its carbon footprint enough to become completely carbon neutral by 2025, meaning that it will have balanced its carbon emissions with carbon removal, or even eliminated carbon emissions entirely.
Though Vancouver ranks third for most sustainable cities in North America, there is still a lot we can learn from the innovative steps taken by Copenhagen.
One of the main ways Copenhagen is striving towards becoming carbon neutral is through the bike-friendly layout of the city. The population of people who bike to work or school comes in at a substantial 50 per cent of the overall population, with 90 per cent of the population being bike owners.
A vast network of nearly 400 kilometers of bike paths stretches around the city, making it one of the safest areas to be a cyclist. Approximately 1,200,000 km are cycled every day by the many cyclists in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen also incorporates green roofs—which feature real plant life—into all of their new buildings, providing a space for nature to coexist within an urban environment.
Vancouver is already moving toward adopting this same policy and its currently discussing requirements for green spaces on new buildings, though there is still debate over how this policy will be regulated and whom it will apply to.
Even Copenhagen’s public transit is going green, as this year the city’s buses are all being switched from diesel to electricity. Copenhagen is hoping to encourage even more of its citizens to utilize the public transit system.
Fortunately, Vancouver isn’t too far behind with its public transit. Some of our buses have already made the switch to electric and the SkyTrains are also run off of electricity. Still, though Vancouver’s number of commuters that use public transit has been steadily rising, it’s far behind the population of public transit users in Copenhagen.
In the heart of Copenhagen, there is a fully organic market by the name of Oko Best. The city attempts to keep their food markets as local as possible in order to support the sustainable lifestyles of its people. Similarly, Copenhagen is home to many eco-friendly brands, allowing the locals to support the environment in style. Vancouver is also known for its eco-friendly brands, and it’s up to consumers with a penchant for environmentalism to spend their money ethically.
Though Vancouver isn’t as close as the eco-friendly capital of Copenhagen to becoming carbon neutral, steps are being taken in the right direction. Hopefully, we can all follow Copenhagen’s lead to create a more sustainable and cleaner world.