Green powered cities allow citizens to enjoy nature and form a living out of using and working with green technology. These cities focus on lessening environmental impacts, it gives them an incentive to work harder. As mentioned in our last post, people nowadays want their future generations to benefit from the cities we build today. Although, there is no city that is 100% green yet, there are some benefits and opportunities for citizens living in those cities as explained below.
Green Cities are Happy Cities
According to a research study by the University of Exeter, moving to green cities improves the mental health of the citizens. Some theories state that looking at green space helps in releasing stress. These ideas have been adopted by cities such as Rio De Janeiro. They created a park known as Parque Madureira in the middle of the city after opening the biggest forest as well. Other cities like Mexico City and San Francisco have also followed suit. Another study from the University of Wisconsin found that people who live closer to green spaces are happier than others. The study also implied that happiness depended more on green space than on the status of the person. A rich person living in a non-green area would not be as happy as a poor person living in a green area. Furthermore, studies have shown that green spaces reduce violence and crime, and improve concentration and productivity.
Green powered cities employ green energy solutions by using wind, water, geothermal, solar and biomass energy. This is bound to create a number of employment opportunities in the sector. In 2014, the total number of jobs in the world in renewable energy was recorded to be $7.7 million. The highest number of jobs were recorded by the solar energy sector as they reached $2.5 million. China, Brazil, the U.S., India, and Germany have the highest number of renewable jobs. Just this year, solar energy was responsible for creating 73,616 jobs and wind energy was responsible for creating 24,650 jobs. According to a report by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), “employers in the renewables sector are hiring people 12 times faster than the rest of the economy.” Also, better employment opportunities and jobs result in improved health and happiness. Jobless and underemployed people are more prone to sickness, death, and disability.
Public Health Benefits
Green powered cities would be powered by green energy sources. Unlike non-renewable sources, green energy sources have no negative impact on our health. Non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear energy create respiratory problems due to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They also create acid rain, land pollution and radioactive waste which can cause cancer. A study by Harvard University found that using green energy sources saves a country $5.7 million to $210 million per year. These sources are specified as “energy-efficient” and low in carbon. So, using these sources will improve public health. Wind farms in Cincinnati and Chicago have resulted in $210 million yearly and wind farms in New Jersey have resulted in $110 million in health benefits. Another study by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that if the negative effects of climate change would be stopped then before this century’s over, 57,000 fewer Americans would decrease every year due to poor quality of air.
Furthermore, when green solutions are applied in the city, it promotes physical activity of human beings by cycling and walking. In China, air pollution is so dangerous that they have to wear masks to save themselves from respiratory problems. 3,000 Chinese citizens gave a survey where 90% of them disclosed that they want green power in the city to help reduce environmental problems.
Green energy sources should be integrated into daily life. For instance, solar energy should be used for cooling, biofuels for transport and electric vehicles. Even smart cities are making sure they follow a green living in order to improve living conditions. These potential ‘smart green cities’ would make life easier and accessible to everyone. Energy generation will be made available via smart solutions which will, in turn, help people in making smart decisions. But before this dream can become a complete reality, certain targets need to be achieved. For example, 70% of greenhouse gases are emitted from cities but these cities only take up 2% of the earth’s surface so energy-efficient projects need to be built. Climate change could result in floods or other natural disasters and even though green energy is being used to lessen the impact, climate change still exists. So, cities need to be planned such that buildings and infrastructures are not at risk and are safe from floods and earthquakes.
However, building a green-powered city is a long process and cannot be expected to function within a decade. There is only one solution: gradually shifting towards green-powered cities to give the economy some time to recover from the benefits gained by using non-renewable sources.