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The Top Five Greenest Cities

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Cities across the globe have embraced all things green, adopting eco-friendly practices to transform urban landscapes for the better and making the image of a vast concrete jungle a thing of the past.  More than 50 per cent of the world’s population inhabit urban areas and that trend is continuing upwards so there needs to be a focus on how urban populations live and how they engage with the environment around them.

In cities across Europe best urban planning practices strive to incorporate eco-friendly elements into new developments and to restore or preserve green spaces in older neighbourhoods. There are many factors that determine a successful city and encourage people to live there and positive, proactive city planning is certainly one of them.

People are heavily influenced by the environment they find themselves in. People’s surroundings affect their mood, their motivation and willingness to act and how they engage with others. It goes without saying that humans prefer to be in an environment that is physically and psychologically comforting and they will actively seek out surroundings with positive qualities.

City planners are aware of how people respond to their surroundings but they are motivated also by issues surrounding climate change and the political call for action, as reflected most recently in the 2015 Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework on Climate Change.

So, what are the top five greenest cities in Europe and what have they done to deserve the title?

Amsterdam

If there is one image associated with Amsterdam, then it has to be the bicycle. The city of Amsterdam has long been bicycle friendly, owing in part to how flat it is but facilitated also by policymakers.  The positive attitude towards bikes is reflected in the city-wide provision of bicycle racks and parking facilities as well as protected paths.

A complete guide to Amsterdam offers a full breakdown on what you need to know about this city, where the historic takes equal place alongside the modern. Amsterdam has much to offer visitors including a rich architectural and cultural heritage. Its transport links offers easy access to visitors. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the busiest airport in Europe.

Ljubljana

The capital of Slovenia may be off the beaten track for some but visitors will be rewarded by a city with vast green spaces as well as an Old Town characterized by cobbled streets and medieval buildings.  To preserve the city center, the amount of cars allowed in is restricted and the emphasis is on facilitating cyclists and pedestrians.

Ljubljana is Europe’s Green Capital for 2016. It boasts 542 meters of green space per head of population and clean drinking water that receives no prior treatment.  The airport is 16 miles northeast of the city and the main rail station forms part of the Pan-European railway corridor network.

Copenhagen

The Danish capital wants to be the world’s first carbon neutral capital city by 2025.  Like Amsterdam, cycling is a key feature of life in Copenhagen.  The Cleantech Cluster of more than 600 companies is a centre for research and development in clean energy production and storage. Redevelopment in the harbour area embraces green principles and the harbour is a must-see for visitors. Tourists will also appreciate Copenhagen’s reputation for food and drink.

Berlin

The German capital has within its city core an environmental zone in which only those vehicles displaying a sticker indicating that it meets certain emissions standards are allowed to enter.  Berlin is at the heart of modern European history and was a symbol of the divide between east and west during the cold war. Strong rail and air links connect Berlin to other European centres and to travel hubs further afield. Among other features, visitors are drawn by Berlin’s relaxed vibe and its vibrant nightlife.

Nantes

This port city in on the west coast of France has origins dating back to Roman times, making it a must-visit for history buffs. In more modern times the city has embraced eco-friendly practices and was rewarded with the European Green Capital title in 2013.

There are 3,366 hectares of green space to explore and a number of Natura 2000 Zones, dedicated to preserving nature in the area. A highly-developed public transport system helps minimize car travel. There are also 234 miles of cycle tracks. Nantes Atlantique airport is the largest airport in western France.

It is to be hoped that these green cities can serve as examples to other urban centres wishing to embrace eco-friendly practices and, in the process, transform the lives of their inhabitants for the better.

 

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands

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Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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