A study conducted by the University of California Berkeley has found that cities contribute less greenhouse gas emissions per person than suburbs in the United States. So how does that work?
City life isn’t exactly “clean” per se, as crowding millions of humans together results in incredible amounts of trash, smog, and traffic. But it turns out that people living in American cities are actually contributing less to greenhouse gas emissions than their counterparts in the suburbs. In fact, the greenhouse gas emissions from the suburbs count for about 50% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the America, even though less than half of the American population actually live in the suburbs.
So what’s going on here? It is simple really; people who dwell in cities have access to public transportation (even if it is kinda crappy), and often live within walking distance to their most visited destinations. Also the raw square footage of a home in the city is much smaller than one in the suburbs, which means less energy needed to heat and cool living spaces. Suburbanites tend to rely on multiple gas using vehicles for a number of needs (think cars to riding lawn movers) and live in larger houses, while many urbanites don’t own a car, and certainly not a lawn mower. Some city dwellers never visit a gas station at all.
But suburbanites need not lose hope, as living in the suburbs does offer greater opportunities to lower your carbon footprint. Suburban home owners can install solar panels, smart thermostats, and have easy in home access for charging hybrid and electric vehicles. All amenities that would be very hard to get past a landlord or condo administration in a city, which also have to rely on far-off rural areas to provide most of their food and water. It also isn’t cheap to live in the world’s most popular cities.
With humans flocking back towards massive urban areas, it seems like the appeal of suburban life might be played out, and already some suburban areas are showing the first signs of neglect and decaying interest. But is city life really better for the environment overall?
Source: Huffington Post
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.