Keeping Green- Who Does It Best?

In the past decade, many countries around the world have made outstanding efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, and to adapt to an increasingly environmentally-friendly way of life. To truly be considered a “green” country, these efforts must encompass every aspect of life, including the tourism industry. According to, there are several countries that lead the way in green living and tourism. These include Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden, and Norway. The number one greenest nation, however, is none other than Iceland.

According to the 2010 Environmental Performance Index, Iceland is the most environmentally friendly country. This is based on system that ranks 163 different countries on 25 different performance indicators within 10 categories across the areas of ecosystem vitality and environmental public health, among others. Iceland was found to be the nation with the most pristine environments, the cleanest water, and the most effective public transportation.

The city of Reykjavik leads the way in Iceland as a green capital, and according to, is even the greenest city in the world. So perhaps now it is truer than ever that Greenland is ice, while Iceland is green.

In Reykjavik, you’ll find an effective and easy public bus system that is run on hydrogen. Like the rest of the country, Reykjavik’s electricity and heat come from renewable resources. Rather than using oil-based fuel, Iceland draws its energy from earth-friendly geothermal and hydropower sources. In fact, Iceland has pledged to be entirely free of fossil fuels by the year 2050. The mayor of Reykjavik has personally pledged to make it the cleanest city in all of Europe. Iceland has also, in recent years, made outstanding efforts to reduce its carbon emissions and to plant new forests.

Iceland is a world leader in creating and applying methods of sustaining human life in a way that is least harmful to the planet. Additionally, the country also has made a major commitment to renewing and preserving plant and animal life. Of course, as a vacationer, this is great news to you. This means that as a visitor to Iceland, you can not only bathe in their therapeutic geothermal pools and hop around Reykjavik on their hydrogen buses, but you can also visit Vatnajökull National Park to see the natural wonders of Iceland at their absolute finest.

In 2008, Iceland began a major nature conservation project that is considered, to this day, to be unparalleled. Vatnajökull National Park is an area of more than 7,000 square miles, including ice caps, glaciers, and subglacial volcanic activity. The park makes up a whopping 12% of the country, and famously includes the Vatnajökull glacier, which is larger than all the other glaciers in Europe combined.

Tourists visiting this protected area will be able to observe the culture and history of the communities dotted around the glacier, who have learned over the years how to adapt to their unique and volatile surroundings. Thus, Iceland offers this amazing opportunity that few other countries can: Every adventure from standing on a massive nature reserve amidst glaciers and ice caps, to club hopping in the country’s busy capital, can be an environmentally friendly experience.

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