Whether it be walking to work, drinking water from a reusable bottle, or eating with steel utensils, environmental advocacy can come in many forms that we might not notice.
HWH Environmental, a hazardous waste removal company, compiled data collected on a state level in a 2019 study by BigRentz Equipment Rental in order to create a list ranking of the top 10 "Greenest Cities in America." On this list, our very own Big Easy came in at #4.
Placement on this list was based on seven different factors: 1) walkability, 2) percentage of households with one or more cars, 3) average commute time, 4) percentage of the population who carpool or take public transit to work, 5) percentage of the population within walking distance of a park, 6) parkland per 1,000 residents, and 7) tons of new landfill waste per capita per year.
While walkability can be considered a deterrent to carbon emissions via driving, it cannot completely eliminate the need for cars in a city, so other factors of automobile travel need to be taken into account. As for parklands and the percentage of the population near them, it is very important for urban areas to have green areas in order to encourage walking and support some of the natural ecosystem that cities might intrude on. As for the final measure, landfill waste is among the worst kinds of pollution.
New Orleans scored competitively in each category: #17 in walkability, #10 in percentage of households with one or more cars, #12 in commute time, #17 in percentage of the population who carpool or take public transit to work, #22 in percentage of the population within walking distance of a park, #2 in parkland per 1,000 residents, #28 in tons of new landfill waste per capita per year.
The city was then ranked #4 in the United States based on an average of the category rankings. With the city's relatively small area sandwiched between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, its population of only 390,000, and the easy access to green areas it offers, whether it be the sprawling City Park or the smaller picnic-friendly Audubon Park, this was no surprise.