New report ranks U.S. cities on environmental and social realities

A new report ranks 72 U.S. cities on their greenness — but we’re not talking just parks and bike paths. The Urban Environment Report, put out by the Washington, D.C.-based Earth Day Network, includes a “vulnerable population index” that takes into account the segment of a city’s population that is most susceptible to environmental changes, including those who are unemployed and uninsured. “This study is the first of its kind, not only because of the sheer quantity of environmental data analyzed, but also because it redefines the term ‘environmental’ to include public health, poverty, education, and other quality-of-life issues,” said Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers. Other factors studied include climate-change action, air quality, transportation, toxics, and human health. Topping the list of green go-getters is Fargo, N.D., with Burlington, Vt., Portland, Ore., and Colorado Springs, Colo., close behind. Languishing at the bottom: El Paso, Cleveland, Miami, and Detroit.