Eco-Friendliness Across the Globe

Take a look into how European countries care for the environment.


Tribune News/Jill Schensul

Countries across the pond are taking initiative in tending to the environment.

The United States ranks 27 out of 180 in the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), which is ranked based on environmental health and ecosystem vitality. A slew of European countries take the top spots each year. In fact, 23 out of the first 30 rankings are filled by European countries.

The main reason many European countries top the list is their reliance on renewable energy sources. Scandinavian countries such as Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark all place high on the list. According to, Iceland is leading a revolution using new technologies that could supply eight percent of the world’s energy. Using geothermal vents thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface, the renewable energy can greatly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released. Sweden is harvesting energy from nuclear and hydroelectric sources and remains the largest consumer of renewable energy among the European Union (EU) countries. According to, the average Swede releases only 4.25 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, compared to the EU average of 6.91 tons and the US average of 16.15 tons.

“We can start by attempting to find a healthier method of producing energy,” freshman Ashley LaRoue said. “While many countries are attempting to use other sources, oil is still a large source [in the United States].”

Europe is not the only continent making efforts to reduce their emissions. Various cities across Asia, such as Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore are doing the same, though in a different way: public transport. By sharing trains and buses, residents of these cities are essentially ‘carpooling’ their way to their destinations and reducing their carbon footprint. According to, Hong Kong is home to the world’s most sustainable public transport. The Hong Kong metro system is the most efficient and intricate on the planet, providing 90 percent of the city’s daily commutes.

Reducing waste by reusing and recycling will also make a tremendous impact. According to, Germany, South Korea and Slovenia are countries with the highest rates of recycling among the countries in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD has reported that 65 percent of Germany’s waste is recycled or composted. Recycling remains a popular pastime in the European country because of the 25 cent deposit for returning used glass, and the seven-cent deposit for plastic bottles, according to

“Our world could hopefully restore to its healthy and natural state, maybe to a lesser extent, however,” LaRoue said. “While most of us won’t be around by the time the Earth finally does run out of natural resources, we need to ensure that our future generations can have access to things such as clean water and air.”

With the growing human population on Earth, there is more damage to the planet and it is crucial to becoming more eco-friendly. If mankind does not undertake the task of caring for its home, then earth might lack essential natural resources and become unsustainable to future generations.