Many cities have made extensive urban ecological efforts to be not only more environmentally and ecologically friendly, but also self-sustaining and non-damaging to the surroundings. Large-scale sustainability relies on renewable resources with minimal waste and is healthy for both the environment and the people in the city, and there are many steps that cities have already taken to ensure survival and prosperity for future generations.
- Urban Farming: In Japan, one farmer in the Miyagi Prefecture built a 25,000 square foot indoor farm which operates at a much higher efficiency than outdoor farming. By utilizing LED lights to control day and night cycles, plants grow 250% faster, produce 40% less discarded produce, and consume 1% of the water required for traditional farming. Perfecting this technique creates lower prices for consumers, healthier produce available, and city sustainability, benefiting the local economy and the entire community.
- Public Transportation: Curitiba, Brazil has taken substantial efforts to redesign their infrastructure to be friendlier to pedestrians and bikes and allowed public transportation to reach 90% of its population. It has seen drastic decreases in air pollution and emissions, which not only greatly benefits the health of the citizens and the community but also allows citizens to be less reliant on automobiles. Furthermore, areas limited to pedestrian traffic allow for local businesses to flourish.
- Energy Efficiency: Adelaide, Australia has integrated wind, solar, and hydroelectric power into the grid, making it less reliant on non-renewable energy sources and therefore less enslaved to the demands of energy corporations. The city equipped many government and public buildings with photovoltaic cells and invested in many wind turbines within the past decade. Although costly up front, now over half of its energy comes from renewable sources and it has seen a drastic reduction in emissions.
- Water Conservation: Austin, Texas, a city that frequently undergoes periods of intense drought, has enacted water restrictions to reduce water waste. Furthermore, they have provided monetary incentives for citizens who turn their lawn from water-hungry turf to native plants and grasses. A specialist from Terminal City Iron Works Ltd., which belongs to the American Water Works Association, reports that many cities have implemented rainwater collection programs and advanced irrigation technologies to reduce water waste and improve water quality.
- Educating the Future: All eco-cities must invest in environmental education for the sustainability of future generations. People must be aware of their impact on the environment and how they can live in harmony with it, because sustainability is only possible with maximum cooperation and engagement. The existing impact of environmental degradation are alarming, with increased pollution level in cities people are demanding a better living environment.
- Recycling: As the population of the planet continues to grow at a rapid rate, the amount of waste generated by the population has also seen a massive increase. Therefore, it is now more important than it has ever been before for people to recycle as much of their waste as they possibly can. Fortunately, many communities all over the world have recycling programs. Some of these programs will even pick up the waste from your home.
- Making homes more energy efficient: We are often asked to do everything we possibly can to make our homes more energy efficient, this is for a number of different reasons. The first one is to try and help out and save the environment, it is often in the news about how damaged the environment has become, so it is essential that we do everything we can to try our hardest to help out. As well as contributing to the environment, you will also see a change in the energy bills which you pay each month. Most of us will often be overusing energy which we do not actually need, so by simply making small changes in our attitude to the energy we use, we can see huge differences.
Apart from these measures, various small and big steps have been taken all over the world. The importance of saving environment has been lately realised. World leaders now pay more attention to these problems. With the emphasis by United Nations by means of Sustainable Development Goals, the change is more noticable. Cities are moving towards a greener approach and trying to reduce their carbon footprint in various ways.