As soon as you get off the plane, you are pushed through a tube into the gleaming and airy Vancouver International Airport (YVR, for all you airport code junkies). Before even reaching immigration, you pass through a hall that is more like a virtual wilderness park complete with trickling streams, faux trees, and recorded sounds of birds and other creatures. Welcome to Vancouver – one of the most outdoorsy, and, soon-to-be greenest, cities on the planet.
In January 2011, Vancouver’s city council unanimously adopted 10 long term goals and initiatives compiled by the “Greenest City Action Committee” (GCAC), that would make it THE greenest city on earth by 2020.
Some of the city’s ambitious goals:
- Green Economy
- Climate Leadership
- Green Buildings
- Green Transportation
- Zero Waste
- Access to Nature
- Lighter Footprint
- Clean Water
- Clean Air
- Local Food
An ambitious list, but one seemingly achievable by this already green, eco-friendly town. Vancouver already has the smallest carbon footprint of any major city in North America and is a leader in green building, planning and technology.
Just in my short time there, I was very impressed, not only with the landscape of co-mingling skyscrapers, sea, and mountains, but with how the citizens found a way to live within it and make it better at the same time. From the huge green roof of the convention center to the miles of bike lanes to the city’s complete recycling system. I always wonder why other cities don’t copy these kinds of success stories. But it only comes with education and personal initiative. As always, it starts with you and me.
See their plan in animated action here in this video: