The recent reports about our environment are quite alarming. While research has shown that oceans are warming 40% faster than before, the UN released a report saying that global warming will wreak havoc on our beautiful planet by 2040, causing floods, wildfires, drought, food shortage, etc. unless we do something about it right away. Though it might take some more years to convince each country across the globe to contribute equally towards the wellness of the environment, some countries have taken up the challenge already. According to a list published by the UN, most of the countries in the top 10 that are eco-friendly are from Europe. but several other nations from around the world are making a big impact. Here are some of them.
New Zealand has a planet and climate index of 39, making it the top-rated country in the Asia-Pacific region. The country’s economy depends on its agriculture and tourism, hence the authorities take utmost care of its natural resources. However, due to its thriving cattle and sheep industry, and its energy industry, the country has emerged as one of the top carbon emitters. Thankfully, the government is not just aware of the fact but also working relentlessly toward making it carbon neutral by 2050. Landfills overflowing with plastics are sights that are not common here, but things are changing. Hence, the country is promoting plastic-free supermarkets and is even banning plastic straws.
Despite having faced several climatic challenges, Kenya has been able to have a planet and climate index of 26. Since the economy depends heavily on agriculture, the government has launched a Climate Change Action Plan and also plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% within 2030. There was one more factor that helped them get to number 26 in the list by the UN. The country has recently banned plastic completely to save its waterways and environment. The ban is one of the strictest in the world and if you do use plastic bags you can even face jail time or hefty fines.
Uruguay has ranked number one among all South American countries, however in the international list for the planet and climatic index it ranks number 15. It’s environmental policies and thriving renewable energy scenario has helped it be the most ethical destination for several years. The country didn’t have any oil reserves and had to import it all for a huge cost. Hence, they started thinking of alternative and renewable sources of energy. Today 95% of electricity comes from renewable sources of energy like hydroelectricity, solar, wind, and biofuels.
Portugal has been an early entrant in sustainable sources of energy. Hence it comes at number 3. Most houses in Portugal have either solar panels or water pumps that turn rainwater to clean water which is used for watering plants, washing clothes, clean house or give water to pets. Children are educated right from high school about the various ways one can help in contributing towards keeping the environment clean. Renewable energy is very common here, and local people are aware of recycling and composting. Every area has its own specialized bin and one for batteries only! There are several electric cars and scooters and ample charging points for their convenience. It was all free until recently.
The country that tops the list of the planet and climatic index is Norway. The country has the highest number of electric cars right now. The government is working hard to make the country climate neutral by 2030. However, it is not just the government who has such climate-friendly policies. The reason why it tops the list is also because of the age-old local tradition of friluftsliv – which means “open air life”. The love spending time outdoors for a healthier and happier lifestyle. It is a deep-rooted concept in their culture. In 2019, it was named the European Green Capital. They have made the city center of Oslo, car-free!
Maybe the rest of the world can learn a thing or two, from these countries who are not sitting idle and waiting for the world summits to put sanctions on harmful practices. This is exactly how the rest of the world should be working too. After all, the climatic and environmental changes will affect all of us and if we do not start working right now, we will end up destroying our beautiful planet.