A few years ago, Forbes magazine picked Vermont as the greenest state in the nation. But if it had truly wanted to honor an ecological paradigm, it should have selected New York City, since the average New Yorker uses only about a quarter as much gasoline as the average Vermonter. New Yorkers also use less electricity — about 4,700 kilowatt-hours per household per year compared with about 7,100 kilowatt-hours in Vermont and more than 11,000 kilowatt-hours in the United States as a whole.
New York City contains more people than 39 states and, if granted statehood, would rank 51st in per capita energy consumption.
Population density is the main reason for our environmental kindliness in that it lowers energy and water use in all categories, restricts family size, limits the consumption of all types of goods, decreases ownership of wasteful appliances, lessens the creation of solid waste and compels most individuals to live in one of the most energy-efficient housing structures on the planet: apartment buildings.
In addition, moving people and their daily destinations near to one another reduces the need for cars, makes efficient public transportation doable and brings back walking as a practical form of getting around.
Residents of the Big Apple have the smallest carbon footprints in the country: 7.1 metric tons of greenhouse gases per person per year, or less than 30 percent of the national average. That is one hoof mark those of us who are privileged to live here should all take pride in.
Martin H. Levinson
©2010 Community News Group
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