Ninety-seven percent of the most prominent climate scientists of the world agree that (1) global warming is real, and (2) it’s “extremely likely” that humans activity has caused it. As gloomy as it sounds, this smog-ridden cloud has a silver and optimistic lining.

Cities and businesses around the world are beginning to change their policies and practices to stop the destructive cycle that’s destroying the environment. Further, these environmentally friendly policies make sense from an economic perspective.

Let’s look at what green-friendly cities are doing in this regard:

San Francisco: The Master of Recycling

san francisco

San Francisco, California, introduced the world to the colored recycling bin system for organizing trash, and with an 80 percent recycling rate, the Golden Gate City has one of the most effective recycling programs worldwide. San Francisco keeps its recycling costs down by requiring residents to separate trash into three bins: (1) compostable materials like food, vegetable matter and lawn waste; (2) recyclable materials like paper, metal and plastic; and (3) non-recyclable materials that go into the landfill. Finally, the City by the Bay is well known for its electric trolley cars and buses, which helps reduce carbon emissions.

Vancouver: A Breath of Fresh Air

Vancouver

Considering that its founding name was “Gastown” and residents later nicknamed it “The Big Smoke” due to sawmill pollution, it’s surprising that Vancouver, Canada, currently ranks among the top 10 cities with the best air quality and lowest carbon-dioxide emissions in the world. It has also made an impressive commitment to improving air quality further by stating it will reduce its greenhouse gases by 33 percent before 2020. As another environmentally-friendly bonus, the city of “Vansterdam” offers its visitors and residents an impressive network of ecological bike routes that commuters use to safely zoom from A to B.

Amsterdam: A Green Energy Powerhouse

Amsterdam fights global warming

Famous for its lax drug laws and bike-friendly commuter routes, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is more than just a hipster travel destination: it’s a tour de force of green energy efficiency. Residents who don’t travel by bike often prefer electric cars, which they can recharge at hundreds of e-vehicle charging stations found throughout “The Venice of the North.”

In its effort to be the Mecca of ecological energy, Amsterdam began a project in 2009 called “Amsterdam Smart City.” As a result, most Amsterdammers use mini wind turbines or high-efficiency solar panels to reduce their burden on the city’s electrical grid.

Green-Friendly Makes Economic Sense

green friendly forest

Due to cheaply available coal and oil-based energy, businesses of the past paid a stiff price to adopt practices that helped the environment. This is why environmental protection laws have played such an important role in cleaning up the environment: industries weren’t going to incur these costs on their own.

Times are changing. When President Trump was elected, many feared the effects of his pro-coal and anti-environmental stance. But even as Trump dismantles Obama-era clean energy policies, the falling prices of renewable energy and natural gas have inspired businesses to use cleaner energy sources to save money while powering their operations.

Industries and Businesses Are Jumping on the Green-Energy Bandwagon

Many industries—like manufacturing, cryptocurrency mining and more—are joining the green-energy bandwagon. In fact, greenhouse gas emissions have actually fallen in spite of the Trump administration’s policies. From 2005 to 2016, information from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that U.S. emissions declined by 12 percent and continue to drop. By 2020, they may have declined by as much as 17 percent compared to 2005.

Renewable energy makes sense from an economic perspective, and companies, governments and progressive cities around the world are taking notice. This has paved the way for green energy startups like GEAR Token, which plans to harness cutting-edge sources of renewable energy to power cryptocurrency mining projects that give back to the Earth’s environment rather than taking away from it.

Jeremy Hillpot is an investment fraud litigation consultant. Fascinated by emerging technologies like blockchain, and the laws and market trends that follow them, Jeremy’s background in consumer fraud litigation provides a unique perspective on a vast array of topics including investments, startups, cryptocurrencies and law.