The world is making advancements towards becoming green, especially for environmentally conscious nations, as they work hard to develop their economies. Industries have been set up, people have ventured into real estate, and governments are constantly making great milestones in the health, education, energy, and transportation sectors. These developments have allowed countries to provide a better economy and life to its citizens.
However, this does not come without consequences to the environment. Global warming and environmental degradation are some of the impacts faced. The environment is thus at risk, particularly with the increase in the number of production industries, expansion of modern transport, and residential developments.
The more we are using clean energy, renewable energy sources, the less environmentally problematic facilities end up being a problem for everybody, but particularly for folks who have to suffer the consequences of some of these facilities
~ Barack Obama
20 Greenest Countries on Earth
All 180 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe graded by The 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) on 32 key sustainability indicators. The EPI scores were based on the latest data on critical things such as air and water quality, waste management, CO2 emissions, and other public health factors. The findings point to a country’s “environmental health and ecosystem vitality” researchers say.
The world’s top ten most green, clean air, climate-conscious countries are all in Europe, according to the researchers at Yale and Columbia universities, who rank the world’s nations on eco-friendliness every two years. The U.S. ranks 24.
Top of all top 10 performers in the eco-chart is Denmark, followed by Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Germany. Here are the top 21 countries that have been termed as the greenest in 2020.
Denmark is the topmost greenest country in the world, with an overall score of 82.50. It also ranks 1st with 100 scores in water resources and wastewater treatment category and also holds the first position in Ecosystem vitality.
Denmark is known for its efficient greenhouse gas emission policies and its efforts to prevent climate change. The country stands out for its scores in the biodiversity and habitat category and air quality. Denmark’s highly progressive government and societal structure create incredible social mobility.
Despite its growing population and GDP, Luxembourg is the 2nd greenest country thanks to its progress in decoupling environmental pressures from its growth.
Luxembourg is the smallest and the wealthiest country in the European Union, per capita, and its citizens enjoy a high standard of living. Luxembourg’s overall EPI score is 82.3, and it ranks 2nd in ecosystem vitality and sixth for water resources and wastewater treatment with a score of 98.5. Castles and churches dot its forests and rolling hills.
Switzerland is the 3rd greenest country in the world in 2020, with an Environmental Protection index of 81.5. It has put into place various measures to ensure that the environment is kept clean and, at the same time, sustainable.
The setting up of Alpine park is one of the steps it took. Additionally, the country has focused on the production of resources by using renewable energy, a move that promotes a green economy.
Switzerland has, over the years, made laws that have allowed farmlands to develop and prevent them from being used for infrastructural expansion. These contributions by the country have allowed it to be green as the natural environment has been kept safe. Clean air, beautiful lakes, and mountains have been notable features that make it prominent.
4. United Kingdom
The U.K. has an overall EPI score of 81.3. The United Kingdom is considered to be the 4th greenest country in the world. The United Kingdom is a highly developed nation that exerts considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence.
The United Kingdom ranks sixth for water resources and wastewater treatment with a score of 98.5. There are about 8,879 wind turbines currently in the U.K., supplying the country with sustainable, clean power.
The contribution of Nicholas Sarkozy played a major role in making France 5th greenest country in the world. He implemented legislation that made it mandatory for all of France to partake in making the country eco-friendly and to conserve energy.
France has an Environmental Protection Index of 80. France has been endowed with very fertile grounds and is one of the top exporters of food. It also makes wine thanks to the grape fields it has.
The country has fewer industries as compared to other countries, and this has helped in the reduction of air pollution. Over the years, France has been working on deindustrialization – a move that has seen the environmental state of the country improve as water pollution has been reduced significantly.
Additionally, France has vowed to change its resource usage and methods of production to conserve the environment.
Austria has an Environmental performance Index of 79.6 achieving 6th rank. It achieves this Index by relentlessly striving to maintain the natural conditions of its environment. Among the major actions taken by Austria is putting environmental protection in its social and economic policy agenda.
Austria has also worked hard in sectors such as waste management and chemical as well as air pollution to prevent such pollutants from destroying the environment. Further, Austria has incorporated ecological knowledge into its agriculture to prevent pollution.
This has been highlighted by the restriction on the use of pesticides. It has also put measures into place to protect its forest and reduce deforestation. All these have contributed to making it one of the greenest countries in the world.
Finland is the 7th greenest country in the world for the year 2020, with a score of 78.9. In the ’80s, Finland was known for its high scores of nitrogen emission and other activities that destroyed the environment. It scored perfect 100s for overall air quality, PM2.5 exposure under the air quality and water resources category.
However, over the years, improvements have been noted as the country strives to restore its environment to its original state.
The body in charge of the environment in Finland has worked hard to make sure greenhouse gases are not produced and that the citizens in the country use renewable sources of energy for production. Wind power has greatly been made use of. According to Yale University’s annual Environmental Performance Index, Finland has planned to have more than half of its electricity coming from renewable sources of energy.
Sweden is 8th among the greenest countries in the world, with an Environmental Protection Index of 78.7. The country plans on eradicating the use of fossil fuel by the year 2020. The move is meant to prevent environmental pollution. It scored perfect 100s for PM2.5 exposure under the air quality category and water resources category. What’s more, they have embraced the use of renewable energy that is eco-friendly to keep the environment natural and safe from pollution.
The use of renewable energy greatly contributes to the reduction of carbon in the air, thus a cleaner and safer environment. The most notable action is the partnership between Sweden and its neighboring countries, especially by taking responsibility to protect the Baltic Sea and protect the ecosystem.
The environmental governance body in Sweden is amongst the most sound, and this has contributed to the fact that Sweden has been kept green.
Norway is one of the counties in Europe that has a significantly green environment. It has an Environmental Protection Index of 77.7 and 9th
rank. The country has made sure that its residential and commercial facilities do not release any greenhouse gases to the environment.
Norway scored perfect 100s for PM2.5 exposure under the air quality category. Like other countries, Norway has made sure that the whole country uses eco-friendly and renewable sources of energy to reduce the rate of pollution and carbon production.
Norway has put in place sustainable development strategies and environmental laws that are supposed to aid in the realization of a carbon-neutral country by the year 2030. Most interestingly, Norway cultivates a relationship with nature.
Children from a tender age are taught on how to live together with nature and protect the environment. In addition, Norway uses ecological knowledge to keep its environment clean and safe.
Germany is the 10th greenest country with an EPI score of 77.2. One-third of this big European country is forest. Often the woods go with wellness. Culturally, Germany has produced some of the world’s leading figures in the natural and social sciences, as well as the arts. Its sustainable environment includes castles, villages, bike paths and deep green pine forests galore and, of course “Enchanted forests.”
Netherland is the 11th greenest country with an EPI score of 75.3. It also ranks 1st with 100 scores in water resources and wastewater treatment category. The Netherlands is coastal lowland freckled with windmills characteristic of its development around the water. This high-income, the developed nation is one of the world’s leading exporters of agriculture, an industry that has become mostly mechanized.
Japan is the 12th greenest country with an EPI score of 75.1. Japan is one of the world’s most literate and technically advanced nations. While most of Japan is covered by mountains and heavily wooded areas, the country’s people lead a distinctly urban lifestyle.
Today the country blends its ancient traditions with aspects of Western life as long culturally influenced by its neighbors. Japan has more than a dozen UNESCO World Heritage sites and is the birthplace of sushi, one of its most famous culinary exports.
Australia is the 13th greenest country with an EPI score of 74.9. Australia scored perfect 100s for PM2.5 exposure under the air quality category and scored 98.2 for overall air quality with 2nd rank.
Australians remain particularly concerned about environmental issues, according to survey and government data. The country has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations treaty that calls on nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Spain is the 14th greenest country with an EPI score of 74.3. The Kingdom of Spain has more street trees than most other European cities: currently, around 161,423 trees of 150 different species line the streets of Barcelona.
The ‘Barcelona Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Plan 2020’, lists over 70 projects and actions with the aims such as provide environmental and social services, introduce nature into the city, increase biodiversity including marine with eco-gardening, habitat conservation (artificial reefs) and species conservation, increase connectivity among patchy Green Infrastructure and make the city more resilient.
Belgium is the 15th greenest country with an EPI score of 73.3. In Belgium, many eco-innovative developments have been associated with its well-established chemistry sector and the rise of the bio-based economy, and in particular, metal management and sustainable construction.
Among the main drivers of eco-innovation, the most important ones are the innovation efforts towards a more circular economy for sectors like the construction sector in addition to initiatives led by organizations that promote zero-waste behaviors or infrastructures for people to innovate together.
Ireland is the 16th greenest country with an EPI score of 72.8. Ireland scored perfect 100s for both the water and sanitation category. The Irish Government includes a strategy to implement a ‘green new deal.’ This aims at moving Ireland away from fossil fuel-based energy production through investment in renewable energy, and to promote the green enterprise sector and the creation of ‘green-collar’ jobs.
Iceland is one of the countries that takes its environment very seriously and invests in its sustainability. It has been graded as one of the greenest countries in the world. Besides, it has been at the forefront in the implementation of programs that are eco-friendly.
Iceland has an Environmental Performance index of 72.3 ranking 17th. It scored perfect 100s for PM2.5 exposure under the air quality category.
It has placed focus on the production of electricity and heat by utilizing geothermal landscapes. Iceland has also played a major role in the fight against ocean pollution. It has made sure that the waters are kept clean, and fishing is done while prioritizing protecting the environment.
Colombia is a beautiful country that has been blessed with amazing sceneries and vegetation. Particularly, Colombia is endowed with the amazon forest, tropical rainforests, and deserts. It also has thousands of species living in its ecosystem. Policies and regulations have equally been set up to protect the environment and preserve its biodiversity.
Despite the fact that they were initially accused of degrading their natural environment, they have worked tirelessly to regain the lost glory by making laws that favor the sustainability of the environment. It has an Environmental Performance Index of 52.9 and ranked 50thamong the greenest countries in the world.
19. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is popularly known for its amazing scenery and equally intriguing landscape. The green in its environment is clearly evident at first glance. It has an Environmental Protection Index of 52.5 holding 52nd rank. The country has put stern measures to avoid both air and water pollution and hoping to achieve a carbon-neutral environment by the year 2021.
The citizens of the country use renewable energy to avoid the production of greenhouse gases. Costa Rica hopes to be the first carbon-neutral country in the world and is constantly seeking for funding to make this possible.
Other than being one of the greenest countries in the world, Costa Rica is also considered to be one with the happiest people in it.
Cuba is not left behind among the countries ranked as the greenest in the world. This is evidenced by considering its Environmental Protection Index of 48.4 with 64th rank. Cuba has worked hard to keep its environment green and safe by reducing the use of pesticides on farmland since they are chemicals that negatively impact the environment.
The sea level has also been lowered to protect the soil from excessive salt that might destroy it. Environmental awareness is also taught in schools so that children can embrace it and practice it to sustain the environment.
Mauritius, a small island country in Africa, has played a major role in keeping its environment green. It has an Environmental Performance Index of 45.1 with 82nd rank. Mauritius being an island has worked tirelessly to protect its ports. It has set up laws and protection acts that reduce the rate of pollution while promoting environmental protection.