In a world of smog-filled cities, polluted streets, and dreary, treeless skylines, it can feel impossible to imagine an environmentally friendly and sustainable metropolis. It can feel like there’s no path to improvement, that there’s no example to look towards. Yet, there is one city that stands above the rest and may give a glimpse into what the future of cities could be.
Voted the most sustainable city in 2022, Oslo, Norway is the host of many clean energy, green space, and sustainable food projects. It serves as a beacon of hope and a leader in sustainability for other cities.
One of the most essential aspects of Oslo’s sustainability is its reliance on renewable energy. The city made real efforts to move away from fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, it focused on developing a new foundation for cleaner sources of energy, specifically hydropower, wind, and thermal. Now, the city can effectively run on mostly renewable energy and can utilize it for personal and commercial transport and electric tools, like heavy machinery, that often use a lot of fossil fuels.
Oslo also places a heavy focus on the environment within the city. Almost half of the city’s area is green space, or places with extensive plant life within an urban area like parks and forests. This green space not only means lower carbon emissions but also provides a more hospitable place for its residents to live in. In addition to green spaces, Oslo also focuses on producing sustainable food. Specifically, the city requires that food suppliers must work to plant seasonal crops and provide more plant-based food, both of which mean less greenhouse gas emissions and use less natural resources.
Most importantly, the government and people of Oslo value sustainability and put in the work to ensure their city can achieve it.
At times, cities like Oslo feel almost utopian. They feel unreachable, so unreachable that maybe we shouldn’t even try to achieve them. However, I’m then reminded that Oslo exists. I’m reminded that with enough will and effort, a lot of cities all over the globe can be just as sustainable and environmentally friendly as Oslo.