Not filthy enough to be green

I had planned on writing this week’s column about another subject but as I opened a web browser on my computer I saw the title, “Greenest Cities in North America Revealed.” How could I not click that link to see which locations made the list?

The study, or survey as it’s called, was conducted by something called the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The data looked at everything from recycling rates to carbon dioxide emissions to energy efficiency. I figured there would probably be lots of small cities because of population numbers being low there wouldn’t be as much waste and people might appreciate/respect nature a little more. Turns out, I was wrong. New York City and Los Angeles made the top 10 – but so too did Vancouver in the number 2 spot.

San Francisco took the prize for being the greenest city in North America. The report noted the city’s comprehensive recycling program and the fact that it has put regulations in place to achieve its recycling goals.

I have been to Los Angeles (seventh place) and New York City (third place) several times so I decided to go through my photo archives because I have done a lot of sightseeing throughout those two areas.

One of the first pictures I opened from my last California visit was a rooftop view of West Hollywood from Santa Monica Blvd. I even posted the picture online and moments later someone wrote, “Oh, how I miss L.A. smog.”

Not that I am disputing the report’s findings because I will be the first to admit I don’t know much about scientific or environmental data. It is surprising that cities we consider to be the biggest polluters are actually the greenest, according to this study.

Who knew that miles and miles of rush-hour traffic sitting on freeways would balance out L.A.’s recycling and energy efficiency efforts? As for New York’s overcrowding, it was applauded for its MillionTreesNYC initiative where the city’s goal is to plant, get this, one million trees.

In case you are wondering, Canada didn’t do too badly on the list: Vancouver (2), Toronto (9), Calgary (14) and Montreal (19).

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