10 Environmentally Friendly Trends We Should Borrow from Other Countries

An elephant in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya

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From Asia to Africa, from Europe to the Americas, countries around the globe are finding creative ways to help save the environment. In today's post, let's take a virtual world tour to discover the best ideas being enacted outside of our borders - no passport or visa needed.

  1. Chile

    In October 2017, Chile banned the sale of single-use plastic bags in coastal villages and towns, becoming the first country in the world to pass such a measure. This comes in tandem with the nation's plan to create 1.6 million kilometers of marine conservation areas this year.

  2. Sweden

    What do you do when you run out of trash? Sweden's national recycling policy is so effective that less than 1% of household waste has gone to a landfill in every year since 2011. That means it's actually had to import waste to keep its recycling plants operating.

    Sloth in the Costa Rican rainforest
  3. Costa Rica

    This tiny Central American nation hosts 5% of the world's biodiversity - and, through its rainforest protection program - means to keep it safe. In addition to protecting the rainforests, the program helps create parks, facilitate land planning and wildlife preservation.

  4. Italy

    Home to an invaluable architectural heritage together with one of the world's most chaotic rush hours, capital city Rome has decided to take a drastic step: ban diesel cars from the city center by 2024. "If we want to intervene seriously, we have to have the courage to adopt strong measures," said mayor Virginia Raggi.

    Norwegian river
  5. Norway

    In 2016, Norway banned deforestation, banning any product in its supply chain that contributes to the practice anywhere in the world. The country has also put its money where its trees are, having donated some $1.6 billion to fight deforestation globally.

  6. Cuba

    Cuba welcomed the new millennium by founding the Cienaga de Zapata biosphere reserve, the Caribbean's largest wetland area. Since then, it has undergone an organic revolution through the use of organiponicos, urban gardens incorporating composting and biopesticides. Havana's largest organiponico, measuring some three hectares, is a stone's throw from the emblematic Plaza de la Revolución.

    The ParkRoyal hotel resembles a succession of hanging gardens in the center of Singapore
  7. Singapore

    Over the last decade, this populous island nation has become a leader in both green city planning and innovative green building solutions, including solar panels, sky gardens, and gravity-driven irrigation systems. With 1,650 buildings already established as environmentally friendly, the city aims to certify 80% of all buildings as green by 2030.

  8. Iceland

    Another island nation - this one in the North Atlantic - Iceland supplies a full 100% of its energy from renewable sources, including hydroelectric and geothermal power. The country provides so much power that the energy-hungry UK has even wondered about plugging into its grid!

  9. Germany

    The home of the luxury automobile is now aiming to make all public transportation free. In February, the government announced a pilot plan to scrap transport charges in five cities, with an eye on extending the program if successful. This is part of a package of measures, including low-emissions zones and support for car-sharing programs, to reduce nitrogen dioxide and fine-particle emissions.

  10. Kenya

    Wildlife crime is a major issue across Africa, but Kenya is working with the World Wildlife Federation to end it. The country is installing infrared cameras and video-streaming technology in its parks to help rangers track and deter poachers illegally hunting elephants, lions, and endangered rhinos.

Conservation and environmental efforts are happening all over the world, and sharing ideas and resources with our global neighbors can help galvanize the larger environmental movement. But as we think globally, we should also act locally-and immediately. For simple steps you can take to green your life right now, check out our related blog post.