Guide says Honolulu is green city
For the second year in a row, Honolulu made the top 10 on The Green Guide's report on America's greenest cities.
The Manhattan-based monthly eco-friendly consumer newsletter and Web site surveyed mayors' offices in the country's 251 metropolitan areas that have populations of more than 100,000. The surveys covered air quality, electricity use and production, environmental perspective, environmental policy, green design, green space, public health, recycling, socioeconomic factors, water quality and transportation.
Honolulu ranks eighth, right behind Berkeley, Calif. Ecologically minded Oregon took two slots, with Eugene named the nation's greenest city and Portland taking third. Last year's Green Guide list did not rank the 10 chosen cities.
Green Guide editor Mindy Pennybacker, who hails from Honolulu, said the city scored high in air and water quality, public access to parks and beaches and other recreation areas whose use fosters good health, the green-waste program and reduction of landfills.
"Burning garbage instead of oil is a smart trend," said Pennybacker, "especially given a widespread recycling program that helps keep toxic plastics out of incinerators." She also cites the growth of farmers' markets and stream restoration in Manoa, Waiahole and Waikane as eco-pluses. But she's most excited about Honolulu's adoption of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards for all new city buildings over 5,000 square feet starting in 2007.
"That's next year! Would that other cities followed Hawaiian time in this regard," said Pennybacker, in a written release.
She cautioned, however, that "There is still so much more that Honolulu can do to ensure a healthy environment — and the health of its residents."
Pointing to the Ala Wai Canal sewage spill, Pennybacker said wastewater infrastructure needs to be strengthened, and incentives for water and energy conservation raised.
"Kaka'ako waterfront is a jewel, unrecognizable from the garbage dump where I used to surf at Kewalo's and Panic's," said Pennybacker. "But I would be sad to see all our green ridges, the body of our 'aina, covered by housing developments and pavements that would increase storm runoff in drains and ultimately the ocean. If the city focuses on sustainable development, conservation, alternative energy and more, as it is fully capable of doing, it will be on everybody's top 10 list worldwide."