A Salute to America’s Greenest Hotspots

As unique of a city as Austin is, it only takes up a tiny corner of the map when it comes to the rest of this sprawling nation. To celebrate America’s 239th birthday, we at the Purple Fig want to pay homage to the exciting eco-friendly progress this country has made over the recent years by honoring its greenest cities, companies, services, and products!

Green Growing Pains

America hasn’t always been so environmentally conscious. Up until the late 1960s and 70s, the nation struggled not only to better define its perspective on nature…but, frankly, to define nature itself (read Web Ecoist’s wonderful article detailing the history or America’s green movement here!).

Even after the birth of the modern green movement, many citizens dissented based on the claim that ecological policies would stunt the nation’s economic prosperity. Environmental law, such as regulations on waste emissions produced by corporate facilities, may impact the spending habits of large shareholders– but sustainability management aims to work hand-in-hand with American business. According to Steven Cohen of Columbia University’s Earth Institute:

Sustainability management is the practice of economic production and consumption that minimizes environmental impact and maximizes resource conservation and reuse.

Top 10 Greenest American Cities

According to Redfin, a 2015 survey revealed the most environmentally friendly cities in the U.S., based on criteria such as CO2 emissions, energy-efficient home features, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings, as well as overall eco-friendly orientations:

  1. San Fransisco, California
  2. Washington D.C.
  3. Sacramento, California
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Portland, Oregon
  6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  7. Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Los Angeles, California
  9. Seattle, Washington
  10. Austin, Texas

Yes, Austin made the cut! Our local company Austin Energy helped put us on the national map for sustainable excellence; other cities lead the way thanks to low carbon emissions, eco-friendly options and incentives in green home design, and city-wide promotion of the environment.

Greenest American Companies

A Forbes article published in 2014 speaks volumes regarding America’s growing consciousness, listing the top 11 American companies that not only produce eco-friendly products, but operate greenly as well:

1. For: laundry detergent, trash bags, diapers, cleaning tools, & toiletries (to name a few)

2. For: cleaning tools & personal care products

3. For: outdoor clothing & equipment, as well as an ambitious “zero waste” policy

4. For: recycling, reusing, and composting 75% of its waste & self-monitoring all energy use (among other practices)

5. For: high-end outdoor equipment & clothing, with products made from renewable material

6. For: over half of its energy supply comes from renewable resources, & an aggressive plan to cut energy use by 25%

7. For: eco-friendly dog toys, mats, & beds made from recycled material (among other things)

To see the full list of 11 companies and read more about their sustainability efforts, click here!

Greenest American Neighborhoods

San Fransisco may be the forerunner when it comes to environmentally friendly cities, but what about urban neighborhoods? Mother Earth Living compiled the top 10 neighborhoods in America that encourage a “healthy, eco-conscious good life” through varieties of social, geographical, architectural, and culinary criteria. The most beautiful part? All of these neighborhoods are scattered across the USA! Eco-friendly living is not a movement that belongs to any one state or city…but from coast to coast!

Here are the top 5:

  1. Asheville, North Carolina
    • Local businesses, farmers markets, & sustainable civil engineering plan
  2. Austin, Texas 
    • Local businesses and grocers, green energy options, & encouraged bus transit
  3. Bozeman, Montana
    • Local farmers markets, 25-mile trail system, & conscious urban growth plan
  4. Brooklyn, New York
    • Activist community projects, the nation’s largest co-op, & green parks and recreation
  5. Chicago, Illinois
    • Revival of old marketplaces, community parks and gardens, & a healthy blend of cultures

Yes, Austin made the cut again– and this time placed very high! Check out the other admirable neighborhoods here.

Pushing Ahead into Greener Pastures…

Want even more proof of how America is stepping up as a leader in eco-friendly practices? Keep scrolling and read on about:

Continue setting the example for the world, and have a wonderful Independence Day!