How green is your city?

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has a site called Smarter Cities.  They offer stories, maps, news, information, etc. on what makes a city “smart” and they also ranked cities according to how “green” they are. They have 3 categories according to city size: under 100,000 = small, 100,000- 249,00 = medium and over 250,000 = large) You can read about how they collected data and scored cities under the criteria of  Air Quality, Energy Production and Conservation, Environmental Standards and Participation, Green Building, Green Space, Recycling, Transportation, Standard of Living, and Water Quality and Conservation. Top large cities: Seattle (WA), San Francisco (CA), Portland (OR).   Top medium cities: Madison (WI),  Santa Rosa (CA), Fort Collins (CO).  Top small cities: Bellingham (WA), Mountain View (CA), Norwalk (CT)

Urban Rooftop Gardening

Rooftop gardens offer energy savings by providing better insulation, reducing heat affect on building, and cutting back on storm water runoff. But they also offer educational space  (for school kids growing their veggies for school cafeteria to social service projects teaching people how to garden and cook), personal gardening, community gathering (shared rooftop gardens for an apartment building), and healthy living in a city. Rooftop gardens also offer longer growing season and less pests. Many cities and/or states  –  Chicago, San Francisco, and New York State, etc – are encouraging rooftop gardens and offering tax incentives.  Read this NYT article (6/16/09) for more information and check with your state to see if you can get a tax break or other incentive to start a green roof on your library.