Over the years, Iceland has continued to hold its ground as one of the most environmentally-conscious countries in the world. Iceland has made it a top priority to utilize its natural geothermal resources for heat and electricity production, vigorously fight against ocean pollution, and instill sustainable fishing practices. Iceland is a breathtakingly beautiful island that is well known for its fjords, natural hot springs, volcanoes, Northern Lights, whale watching, and glacier hiking.
Finland and Iceland seem to switch back and forth between who is the greenest country. Their rankings are very closely matched year after year. According to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Finland ranks high on its “societal commitment to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.” It has also continued to score high on its dedication to water and sanitation, as well as biodiversity and habitat conservation. Finland is home to 40 national parks, a population of almost 200,000 reindeer, and over 1,000 species of flowering plants. It is the most forested country in all of Europe.
For the past twenty years, the Netherlands have had a National Environmental Policy Plan in place and have since met over 70% of their goals. The country is working hard to reduce carbon emissions, reduce air pollution, clean up the rivers, and improve waste management. Amsterdam was awarded the ranking of 5th most environmentally friendly city in Europe by the European Green City Index. One of the best ways to tour around the cities and smaller towns is via bicycle, which you will notice a large number of the population does. The Netherlands has more than 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) of bike paths!
New Zealand is on a quest to be completely free from fossil fuels by 2025. The country is working to better utilize its abundant geothermal energy sources instead. New Zealand is made up of two islands that are both incredibly diverse in landscape, ecosystems, and wildlife. Eco tourism is quite synonymous with New Zealand, as there are an abundance of opportunities to experience the unique and awe-inspiring natural wonders of the islands, including glowworm caves, whale and dolphin watching, and exploring pristine beaches and ancient forests.
Australia has recently stepped into action and devised several plans to reduce its carbon emissions and dependence on coal. By 2020, 1/5th of Australia’s energy will come from solar, wind, and geothermal sources. They are also promoting large-scale carbon capture and storage programs and efforts to reduce the country’s carbon footprint. Between the Great Barrier Reef, Gondwana Rainforest, Fraser Island, and Kakadu National Park, among so many other must-sees, Australia is an amazing eco-destination.