Just how green is Las Vegas?
You’d expect us to be pretty environmentally friendly living in the desert where none of us are shielded from immediately shifts in our surroundings.
But not so fast my friends. A new WalletHub survey ranks Las Vegas as one of the least green cities in America.
Jill Gonzalez is an analyst for WalletHub. She said the company looked at 13 metrics, including "greenhouse gas emissions per capita to smart energy policy and initiatives within a city."
She said overall Las Vegas ranked 87th out of 100. Our biggest problem: "I think it all starts with the greenhouse gas emissions that are being pumped out by people in Las Vegas per year."
She said Las Vegas pumps out 8 metric tons of greenhouse gas per capita every year compared to a half a metric ton per capita for some of the cities that ranked at the top of the Green Cities list.
Gonzalez said 75 percent of Las Vegans rely on their cars but cities like New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC only 30 percent of people drive.
Our second problem is the amount of green space to soak up that extra carbon dioxide.
"3.5 percent of the city is actual park land," Gonzalez pointed out. "Not a lot of oxygen to be offsetting all of these emissions."
Greenhouse gas emissions impact our air and water quality, which bring down our overall green city ranking.
Gonzalez said there is a lot Las Vegas could do to improve its ranking everything from increasing use of green energy to improved recycling.
She said there were only 37 local program places in Las Vegas to increase green living, while Baltimore leads the nation with 64.
Gonzalez also said making green energy a priority would help the city rise in the rankings.
"So just increasing the incentives, specifically for commercial businesses, I think Las Vegas could do really well here," she said.
Gonzalez said just a few years ago New York City was not the leading green city in the country that it is now and Las Vegas could take some cues from the Big Apple.
"There is definitely hope for any city especially for Las Vegas because of all the commercial work that it does." she said.
Jill Gonzalez, analyst, Wallet Hub.
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