Earth Day is to Portland as Times Square is to New York. When it comes to sustainability, and environmental consciousness, you’d think the City of Roses was where this annual event got started. Intellectual and trendy with a vibe that’s hard to beat, Portland is more than a progressive metropolis that happens to be surrounded by a forest of lush green and acres of farmland. Known as an outdoor lovers utopia, this tree-hugging, reusable bag toting city takes serious pride in being named one of America’s greenest cities by Travel & Leisure Magazine, and it has the renewable energy to prove it.
You’ll see plenty of electric, and hybrid vehicles out on the road, but alternative modes of transportation are how Portland keeps its carbon footprint on the down low. If they’re not getting around on foot, the majority of PDX residents take advantage of the incredibly efficient public transit network, from the Max Light Rail, and Portland Streetcar, to the TriMet bus system. With more than 180 bike lanes, and 85 miles of paths, there’s no doubt Portland’s preferred mode travel is on two wheels, and the open road. Named the #1 bike city in the U.S by Bicycling.com, and with 7.2% of the population commuting by bike according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland isn’t just bicycle friendly, it’s a cyclist’s paradise.
Portland and sustainability go hand in hand. Few big cities pair robust corporate infrastructure with urban agriculture, and backyard chickens quite like it. Portland’s Sustainable Food Program supports local growers and promotes environmentally responsible farming practices through a variety of programs from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and farmers markets, to educating the community on a variety of nutritional, and environmental topics. Organic, and farm-to-table is common terminology when it comes to the Portland restaurant scene where working closely with local farms to serve naturally grown foods is a way of life.
Paper or plastic? Paper or reusable bags are it, as Portland has banned grocers, and retailers from offering plastic as an option. The city’s eco-savvy residents do a great job of swapping disposable water bottles, and storage bags for reusable varieties, and reduce waste by composting, and recycling. Portland celebrates Earth Day every day, and keeping it green is a citywide effort that its residents take pride in being a part of.
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