« QUIZ: Which Country Suits You Best? | Main | Survival School: 6 Species That Cheated Extinction »

The World's Most Ecologically Sustainable Countries

It is now appraised that 86% of the world's population live in countries that demand more from nature than their ecosystems can supply. Pursuant to the Global Footprint Network, if everybody were to live like American people, it would take 4 Earths to sustain the global population.
Subsequently, a few countries have opted for the ecological footprint model, which shows the energy and resources consumed in each country per person to boost awareness and to teach populations about resource demand.

Here’s a list of 5 countries that have ecologically sustainable policies.

flickr | Moyan Brenn It scores high on the EPI (2014 environmental performance index) for its admirable sustainable development policies on climate change, for restricting greenhouse gases and for its clean energy economy which has attracted foreign industrial investments with regards to renovating aluminium working factory.
Iceland is well-known for transforming its energy system so that 100% of its electricity production and all its house heating is now procured by domestic renewable energy resources of hydroelectric power (thanks to its abundance of rivers) and geothermal reserves. Its sustainability is also increased by its low air pollution, its high quality of the water and the hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses in Reykjavik. Moreover, the country’s greenhouse agriculture has varied the farming sector allowing the country to benefit from the domestic production of tomatoes, cucumber and peppers.

flickr | Transformer18Although it is “resource constrained” by virtue of its fenced-in geographical location, it topped the 2014 EPI list thanks to its ecological and green policies. Due to several original environmental management practices, Switzerland is now among the most sustainable nations in the world in regards to climate change, biodiversity and habitat protection. The Swiss introduced 15 regional parks only in the last 5 years, with 2 additional national parks in progress, surpassing any other country for protected terrestrial areas. It also boasts the densest rail network in Europe and provides free recycling services while charging for routine garbage collection.

More than 30 % of the country is covered in forests, which provides a profitable timber industry creating hundreds of thousands of jobs; most Swiss homes are fabricated with wood indeed. From hydropower plants comes more than half of its domestic electricity production and another 40% is from nuclear power. In 2013, it set its goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Costa Rica
flickr | Trish HartmannIt is one of the most ecologically sustainable countries in the world thanks to its government’s willpower to preserving its forest and water systems—25% of the land is protected as reserves and national parks. According to ONU, this tropical wildlife heaven produces over 90% of its electricity through renewable means such as hydroelectric, geothermal and wind power.
The country also uses the capital from its vehicle stamp duty, gas tax and energy fees toward natural resource management and air water protection programs. The ministry’s interest on environmental management has permitted the nation to improve its sustainability performance and maintain some 10,000 species of plants and 800 butterfly species. In spite of its size, the country supports nearly 5% of the world’s biodiversity and even compensates landowners for protecting their trees and planting new ones.

flickr | melenamaSweden is an ecological-friendly performer particularly in the branches of forestry, water management and environmental health. The International Energy Agency has reported that 44% of the country’s energy comes from renewable sources.
Enforcing clean energy sources, carrying out green-friendly public transportation in their rail networks and guaranteeing high quality healthcare services are some of the main tasks of Swedish ministries. In order to discourage oil use the government even charges a carbon tax. In 2013 the Swedish government set two challenging goals: phasing out fossil fuels by 2020 and having zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

flickr | Harshil ShahLuxembourg is proud of being one of the wealthiest countries in the world with the smallest population and of its ecological sustainable policies. In the 2014 EPI, the country scored 100% on access to drinking water and sanitation and took second place overall on the environment performance index. It also reached the Convention on Biological Diversity’s international target of protecting 17% of terrestrial habitats. Luxembourg has also been praised for establishing a program to subsidize renewable energy, it has recently raised its subsidies to work towards a long-term future of hydro and biogas installations.

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

See more from our volunteers #Frontiervolunteer