City Seattle’s Enviro Scorecard: Not Bad, But More to Do
posted by February 22 at 13:51 PMon
The Earth Day Network has done a comprehensive “urban environment” scorecard, ranking 72 cities by factors such as air and water quality, toxic chemicals, availability of recreation, and response to global warming. Out of the cities ranked, Seattle scored an impressive No. 7.
Among the highlights:
•13.5 percent of our population is considered “more vulnerable” to the effects of environmental degradation, due to diabetes (5.27 percent), lack of health insurance (13.4 percent), adult obesity (18.9) adult asthma (9.33 percent) and other factors.
• Seattle scored relatively low on toxics because our air and water contain high levels of neurologically damaging chemicals and dioxins; we have a large number of Superfund cleanup sites; and we have a poor record of lowering the amount of waste we send to landfills and convert to energy. However, our air and water quality were far superior to most of the most cities surveyed.
• Our vaunted “quality of life” ranked smack in the middle of the scale, with the worst scores for population and housing density, use of public transit, travel time to work, car ownership, and wasted fuel. Our overall cost of living also ranked poorly .
• Seattle scored lowest in the area of global warming, where we got props for committing to meet Kyoto standards but have shown little progress at the local level actually doing so. We’re doing a poor job creating greenhouse gas emission reduction programs; reporting greenhouse gas emissions; creating new renewable power sources; and metering utilities. (A lot of Seattle’s low score can be attributed, however, to geography; we lost points for having minimal wind and sunshine, and for being right at sea level).