Many of us are trying to do what we can for the the environment on a personal level. Whether that’s recycling or using eco interior paint to decorate, there are many different ways to ‘do our bit’. But on a global scale, there are particular countries that stand out for the work they’ve done to help the environment.
So how are such things measured?
Countries are given an EPI, which means Environmental Performance Index. An EPI score is awarded by two bodies, the CIESIN (Center for International Earth Science Information Network) and the YCELP (Yale Center For Enviromental Law & Policy). These bodies have been set up to provide scientific advice and guidance and implement guidelines and laws to protect the environment.
With this information, EPIs are ascribed to the countries of the world to see where improvements need to be made. Using the EPI scoring system, we can see the current top 10 of highest performing countries.
10. Sweden (EPI 68.82)
With its extensive scientific research, Sweden has been instrumental in creating programmes and technologies to protect ecology across the world. Most recently, Sweden was awarded with the UN Environmental Programme’s Montreal Protocol award for ozone layer protection.
9. United Kingdom (EPI 68.82)
One of the UK’s main areas of conservation is its canals and waterways. These areas are often the victims of industry, from construction to pollution from dumping. With governmental bodies such as The Environment Agency, grants have been issued to improve these habitats as well as issuing hefty fines for offenders.
8. Italy (EPI 98.9)
Italy, like many countries in Europe, has faced some dreadful environmental problems, and air pollution is an ongoing issue for the country. Because of this, Italy has put some very stringent controls on the level of pollution created by industry.
7. Austria (EPI 68.92)
It was ongoing environmental problems that has prompted Austria to act to save its ecology. With around 25% of the country’s forests damaged by acid rain, it was essential that something had to be done. Austrian environmental legislation is built upon the principle of ‘you break it, you buy it’, so whoever causes the damage has to cover the costs of environmental repair. Large organisations spend much of their profits on maintaining Austria’s environment.
6. France (EPI 69)
France has become one of the key countries in Europe for turning to renewable energy for power. In fact, France has become the one of the first major investors in off shore wind farm technology. By 2020, it’s hoped that there will be 6,000 wind turbines across five coastal areas.
5. Costa Rica (EPI 69.03)
With its massive and diverse population of flora and fauna, it’s imperative that Costa Rica maintains its ecology for the tourist interest. That might sound cynical, but it’s a perfect win-win situation. It’s a working model that encourages the support of the country’s eco-system while bringing in revenue. For a country that doesn’t have the wealth of other nations to support the environment, Costa Rica has made incredible developments in this area.
4. Luxembourg (EPI 69.2)
Being one of the smallest countries in Europe, Luxembourg has a unique position when governing its environmental policy. Because of the size, imbalances to the country’s eco-system, can affect the environment very quickly. Fortunately the country has been been proven to act fast when needed, slowing down these effects comparatively quickly.
3. Norway (EPI 69.92)
Despite the increase of products increasing dramatically over the last 10 years in Norway, there have been massive operations to provide effective disposal. In fact, more than 80 percent of non-hazardous waste and 90 percent of hazardous waste is collected. While landfill (responsible for generating greenhouse gases) is still used, its use has been drastically reduced, thanks to a push to create more incinerators.
2. Latvia (EPI 70.37)
With environmental statutes that date back to the 16th century, Latvia has always entertained a psychology of conservation. This seems to have paid dividends, ecologically speaking, as many different kinds of European wildlife still thrive in Latvia, even though the same species are disappearing throughout the continent.
1. Switzerland (EPI 76.69)
Switzerland is incredibly proud of its tough stance on environmental policy. The country has spent more than a decade pushing for reforms to environmental protections and reforms to industry. The result has led to the successful balance of cleaner air, safer water and outstanding conservation throughout the country.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Dave F writes on a variety of subjects including science and nature. He is currently re-decorating with eco paint and hopes that this may in some way help to increase the UK’s environmental rating!