NATIONAL GREEN CITY DAY | October 1
On October 1 we celebrate National Green City Day to highlight the progress and innovations cities are making to become more sustainable.
There are so many exciting innovations that cities across the country are implementing to become eco-friendly. This National Day gives everyone the chance to highlight milestones addressing the issue of climate change. The day also encourages people to share various eco-friendly ideas and solutions to meet the need of sustainable urban planning.
What is a green city? Also known as a sustainable city, a green city is a city that is addressing social, environmental, and economic impacts through building eco-friendly alternatives by removing harmful chemicals and waste from communities. While ways to help the planet is essential to sustainability, reducing costs and creating a vibrant culture for citizens are equally important. Through planned infrastructure, green cities can leave behind a net zero footprint for a more sustainable world and create vibrant, healthier spaces for everyone.
Why are green cities important? According to a recent UN report, around 2.5 billion more people will be living in cities by 2050, highlighting the need for sustainable urban planning and public services. Green cities:
- Lower emissions.
- Conserve energy.
- Reduce waste.
- Ensure rich biodiversity.
- Increase housing density and improve public health.
- Encourage the development of sustainable local businesses.
Becoming A Green City
Cities across the world are implementing changes to become more eco-friendly for future generations. As population increases, so does the emission of pollution. By supporting efforts and everyone doing their part, cities are learning to live more sustainably and preserve their natural resources. The future is urban and sustainability is the way forward.
Urban Green Spaces
Maintaining parks, wetlands, open green spaces, hiking trails, community, and rooftop gardens are all ways to bring nature into the city. Fortunately, cities have dedicated green spaces that bridge the gap between urban and natural environments. Urban green spaces can boost mental/physical health while reducing the effects of heat, pollution, and traffic noise. These spaces also support greater urban biodiversity by providing safe refuge and food for local wildlife.
Improving transportation options in a city promotes green city living. Cities can repair or create new bike paths to encourage biking to destinations rather than driving. Public transportation companies can support green living by investing in clean technology for trains and buses. In addition, public transportation can reevaluate their routes to meet the needs of pollution laws and still serve commuters effectively.
Increasing use of solar panels to produce energy will reduce the number of emissions from fossil fuels. They can also help alleviate the damage of smog, acid rain, and contaminated water sources. In addition, renewable energy projects increase city resilience by reducing dependence on the grid in times of natural disasters. In fact, many cities are offering bulk purchasing options, lowering the cost for everyone involved.
For a city to be successful at becoming a green city, urban dwellers must participate in the process and rethink buying habits. Several cities have already banned the use of plastic straws, plastic bags, and plastic foam products (Styrofoam). You can help by reducing your household plastic consumption and reusing as much as possible. When recycling, remember to place your items in the appropriate bins. The most successful green cities have reliable drop-off locations that are not only convenient, but easy to access. Green cities have location drop offs for:
- Food waste
- Bike to work to save money, time, and the environment.
- Green your rooftop or balcony by adding plants.
- Create outdoor spaces to promote physical activity.
- Shop at a farmers’ market or start a community garden in your neighborhood.
- Support preservation of natural habitats and landscapes.
- Make a plan to go plastic-free.
- Carpool to reduce vehicle emissions.
- Enjoy an outdoor picnic and collect natural items that can be used for a fun art project.
- Organize your own event at a local park and celebrate all the ways your city is going green.
- Recycle and reuse.
- Volunteer to clean up your local park or waterways
- Start a movement to build a green city block.
- Share and tag #NationalGreenCityDay on ways you are contributing to a more sustainable world.
More Eco-Friendly Ideas
- Become a City Scientist at Home (in collaboration with National Geographic).
- Advocate for reduced light pollution and bird friendly glass on city buildings.
- Sign up to take the City Nature Challenge to document wildlife in your city.
- Build an insect hotel.
- Create an urban butterfly sanctuary by adding milkweed to gardens or balconies.
BEHIND THE ECO-FRIENDLY DAY
In 2022, Mio Reggio LLC founder Monica Tierney and National Day Calendar collaborated to create National Green City Day. The day promotes the progress cities are making to become more sustainable and eco-friendly.
Mio Reggio LLC is a company that provides educational materials and blocks for children ages 3 and up. Their mission is to connect children to sustainability and creativity through open-ended play. Mio Reggio products support sensory development, spatial awareness, and a connection to nature.
According to Mio Reggio LLC, children today rarely explore outdoors and are missing out on an appreciation for nature. Children who spend time outside develop better:
- Cognitive skills
- Physical strength
- Emotional skills
- Mental health
- Creative ideas and critical thinking
- Verbal development
Mio Reggio believes in children’s role as global citizens and their ability to give shape to the green city movement. We are all citizens of a city.
The city, which is both theirs and ours, is a place always in the process of becoming. We should not resist the new, attempting to preserve a world that we know is destined to disappear….what we can do, and in a certain way, must do, together with the children, is to give shape to this evolution. ~Carla Rinaldi
Good Housekeeping awarded Mio Reggio LLC the 2021 Good Housekeeping Sustainable Innovation Award for their Green City Blocks product. They have currently listed them as one of the 25 green companies to know.