Official Tourism Site for the Greater Portland Region of Maine


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Official Tourism Site of Greater Portland Maine
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America's Green Cities

Working to make their neighborhoods and the planet healthier and more sustainable

If you live where every home has room for a garden and your milk and eggs come from a local farmer, you may be thinking that "green" and "city" do not belong in the same sentence. But as we learn more about the threats to the environment and rediscover the benefits of regular interaction with nature, urban dwellers are demanding that their leaders make cities more sustainable, with more green space.

From energy conservation initiatives to community gardens to carbon offsets, municipalities big and small are focusing their attention on the environment and quality of life for their residents. Naturally, we support these efforts and wanted to recognize the cities that are leading the way toward a more sustainable future. When you think of the greenest cities, places like Portland, Oregon, "The City of Roses," or Seattle, "The Emerald City," likely come to mind. But when we set up our criteria (see "Our Scoring System") and then gathered the data, we found that Salt Lake City, "The Salty Lagoon City," or Fargo, "The Little Windy City," earn a spot on the list, too. Now check out our rankings of the small, midsize, and large cities with the lowest environmental impact score, and learn about green initiatives that could improve life where you live.

Small Cities (population less than 150,000)
Portland, Maine
Score: 4.514
Population: 63,000

Green is growing all over this coastal city—it has acres of parkland and trails. Portland was among the first communities to sign the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, pledging to take steps to reduce CO2 emissions by 7 percent over five years. Now all city-owned diesel vehicles run on a mix of 20 percent vegetable-based biodiesel fuel and 80 percent regular diesel, and must adhere to an anti-idling ordinance. Fall visitors take time to learn about sustainable living by attending the Common Ground Country Fair, the largest organic festival in the country, about two hours away from Portland in Unity, Maine.

By Beth Huxta

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