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If you’re planning a move abroad this year and want to pick a destination with greener credentials, check out our pick of Europe’s most eco-friendly countries…
Denmark – the home of sustainabilityAccording to the United Nation’s Climate Change Performance Index, Denmark ranks as one of the world’s leaders in efficient policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and holdback climate-change.
Its capital, Copenhagen, claims to be one of the greenest cities on earth.
Copenhagen continues its bid to become carbon-neutral by 2025 – just five years from now! CopenHill, a significant landmark in the city, is designed to turn waste into energy and is already supplying tens of thousands of homes and business with electricity.
Not only that, CopenHill is also a year-round artificial ski and snowboard slope, making it one of the most unique power stations in the world. Nothing – not even space – goes to waste in Copenhagen, which is fast become a model for some of the world’s largest cities, such as London and New York.
Bjarke Ingels, founder of the architectural practice BIG explains:
‘CopenHill is a blatant architectural expression of something that would otherwise have remained invisible: that it is the cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in the world… [I]ts facade is climbable, its roof is hikeable and its slopes are skiable. A crystal clear example of hedonistic sustainability – that a sustainable city is not only better for the environment – it is also more enjoyable for the lives of its citizens.’
Iceland – go green, go happy!Iceland has an impressive Environmental Performance Index (EPI) of 93.5 and is known as one of the greenest countries in the world. It also boasts a renewable energy program that supplies nearly every resident with electricity and hot water.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that it’s also been ranked as one of the happiest nations in the world.
According to a poll taken by Capacent Gallup for the Icelandic daily newspaper Morgunblaðið, a whopping 73% of Icelanders are satisfied with their lives. So, it seems there’s a correlation between going green and being happy!
The country’s geothermal energy also provides a natural alternative to fossil fuels. It’s widely used for things like melting snow off footpaths, heating indoor and outdoor swimming pools and processing food – making Iceland a green model for the world.
Switzerland – leading innovators in green enterprisesSwitzerland regularly commands one of the top spots in the green country charts.
Recycling is free and widespread, so you won’t see any landfill sites in Switzerland’s stunning and biodiverse landscapes.
Between 1990 and 2015, the Swiss upped their waste-recycling from 15% to an impressive 57% in the canton of Vaud (one of 26 cantons in Switzerland). According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Swiss have the best waste-recycling rates worldwide.
Local shops and supermarkets are also well ahead of their British counterparts, with re-usable bags and unpackaged produce becoming an everyday reality over a decade ago.
Additionally, the country now ranks as one of the world’s leaders in start-ups for green technology enterprises. There are over 4,000 patents per million inhabitants – that’s 32,000 patents overall – making it a real spearhead in eco-technologies, think tanks and new initiatives.
So, if you’d like to live among leaders in the green revolution, Switzerland is soaring ahead.
Slovenia – explore the green Adriatic enclaveAccording to the esteemed magazine National Geographic, Slovenia is one of the world’s most sustainable countries. Slovenia also won the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development award in 2017.
his Adriatic enclave, nestled as it is amongst beautiful fields and snow-capped peaks, scored an impressive 96 out of 100 sustainability indicators.
Its biodiversity, culture and authenticity make it a real winner.
Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, has been car-free for over a decade and has an eco-aware organic culinary scene.
The majority of its cafes have embraced plant-based milk and varied menus of locally-sourced food.
An added bonus is that you can explore the city by hiring a paddle-board and navigating its canal system. The city is also full of iconic sights, architectural heritage and Ljubljana Castle.
2020 promises to be a year of positive change, with each nation in this list pushing to create a brighter, healthier and greener future for all.
If you’re thinking of moving abroad, these countries offer you the opportunity of being at the forefront of an exciting green revolution!
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