The problem of climate change has become very real, very fast in recent years. From floods in the Philippines to the devastating Australia bushfires, the consequences of our rampant industrialisation, without any care for the environment, are beginning to show. The solution to this lies in rapidly adopting renewable energy sources and sustainable practices to mitigate the damage that fossil fuels have already caused. Countries all over the world have already started taking the first steps but some of them are significantly ahead than the rest. Here’s the 5 most sustainable countries in the world:
With an Environmental Performance Index (EPI) of 87.42, Switzerland is leading the way in sustainability. Around 60% of the nation’s domestic electricity production is undertaken by the 600 hydroelectric power plants that are spread across the country. In 2008, they also introduced a feed-in tariff system that basically allows the producers of renewable energy to sell the excess electricity generated back into the grid and receive money in return. Their commitment to preserving the natural landscape through the creation of national parks has also been impressive.
France has recently introduced a host of new programs that are driven towards sustainability being the most important goal. Considering the amount of waste generated by the fashion world, they have introduced plans to ban retailers from throwing out or incinerating unsold clothes and instead, donating these to second hand shops. They also require supermarkets to pass out left over food to charities in an attempt to mitigate food waste.
Denmark’s main goal is to create an environmentally sustainable community and their efforts clearly show it. So far, 40% of their energy production has been achieved through wind power, with hopes of reaching 50% by 2020. Their promotion of cycling has also had a large impact on their air quality. All their cities have been designed with this in mind. Because of this they only have 2.1 million cars on the road for a population of 5.8 million.
Although Malta’s options for green energy are limited, they’re trying to do their part to become a more sustainable country. To reduce their fuel emissions, they are offering incentives to the people who opt for energy efficient appliances and electric cars. They have also moved away from oil being a producer of electricity and shifted to natural gas, which is better for the environment.
Sweden has made sustainability a priority for many years and continues to promote green practices amongst their citizens, who have majorly contributed to their environmental goals. A study conducted by the European Commission found that an impressive 40% of Swedes made an effort to purchase eco-friendly food and other goods in a given month. Their commitment to recycling has also been unprecedented, with an astonishing 99% recycling rate.
The precedent for a new age of sustainability has been set and it has never been more important for the environment to be the world’s highest priority. We’ve all witnessed the destruction that has been caused around the world because of us. Without systemic change and progressive policies, that is the only thing the future holds for us.