Planet Earth is a beautiful oasis of natural beauty amongst the cold lifeless vastness of the known universe, however, this paradise is in danger of disappearing due to climate change and the destruction of nature all across the globe.
To counter this, an increasing number of individuals and nations as a whole are enacting increasingly green policies to reverse the process and provide a brighter future for the natural world.
By looking at World Bank data on a number of factors including emissions, land usage, endangered animals, and energy production, we’ve determined which nations are the most eco-friendly overall. The greener countries have better outdoor knowledge, and understand how to effectively use their natural geography and resources to create a more efficient and green nation.
The Most Caring Countries in the World
To discover which countries scored the highest overall we ranked each country on the following eight factors: CO2 emissions, air pollution, forest land, agricultural land, renewable energy, and threatened species of mammals, birds, and fish.
1: Sweden – 8.84/10 Caring Score
At the top of the rankings is a country that is home to one of the world’s most prominent environmental activists in Greta Thunberg. Sweden leads its closest rival by 0.11 to make it the overall winner, with solid rankings amongst almost every category, which shows that the Swedes have a complete approach to becoming a greener country. One of the categories that Sweden ranks highly on is the number of threatened mammal species as there is just one, the Bechstein’s Bat.
2: Norway – 8.73/10 Caring Score
Up next are Sweden’s closest neighbours, Norway. Just like the country across the border, it is a nation with a low population density, and again it scores solidly across the board. While Norway is far ahead of Sweden on certain factors such as renewable energy output by 34.45%, and the percentage of their land used for agriculture is significantly lower, on the other hand, they lag far behind in the number of endangered species and have less than half the percentage of forest land.
3: Finland – 8.65/10 Caring Score
The third country making up the Scandinavian trifecta at the top of the rankings is the famously forested Finland, and unsurprisingly, almost three-quarters of its area is covered in trees. Moreover, like the other two above it, Finland also scores well in all of the different categories and especially succeeds in having a low amount of endangered mammals and none of the population is exposed to high levels of air pollution. But, they are far behind Norway in terms of renewable energy output, and Sweden produces around half as much CO2 as them.
Countries with the Lowest CO2 Emissions
Countries with the Lowest Air Pollution Rates
There are seven countries around the world whose entire population is exposed to levels of air pollution under the WHO’s guidelines. Some of these are smaller nations such as Brunei, the Maldives, and Palau but there are also some big countries that have achieved zero percent. For instance, Canada is a top ten country in terms of GDP and is helped by a low population density of 10 people per square mile.
Countries with the Most Forest Areas
Deforestation is one of the most important factors in the increase of CO2 levels and the subsequent greenhouse effect. Over a year, one hectare of mature forest will absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide produced by the average annual mileage of five cars, but it is estimated that since 1990 forests have decreased by over 80 million hectares.
The Amazon rainforest is the biggest in the world and it is two Amazonian nations that top the rankings. Suriname has 97.57% of its total land covered by the forest, and their neighbour Guyana has 93.64%.
Countries with the Least Agricultural Areas
In the creation of agricultural land for crops or livestock, the natural biodiversity of the area is often destroyed or damaged to make way for it, of this, deforestation is one of the largest problems. Ergo, the lower the percentage of a country’s area dedicated to agriculture there is more land that could be in a natural greener state.
Suriname is at the double here topping the rankings again with a tiny percentage of 0.54 given over to agriculture, behind them comes Singapore with 0.93% (although this makes sense with the whole country essentially being one city). Third place is the islands of the Bahamas with 1.4% of their total area used for agriculture.
Countries who use the Most Renewable Energy
During recent years there has been a rapid rise in the use of renewable energy sources with countries such as the UK looking to have 100% by 2050. However they are some way off this at the moment, and there are already some nations with 100% of their energy coming from renewable sources.
One of these countries is Nepal, the small mountainous Himalayan nation ranks 22nd overall and the total renewable energy production helps a lot in this regard. The four countries with 100% are all from different continents with Albania in Europe, Paraguay in South America, and Lesotho in Africa being the other ones.
Countries with the Fewest Endangered Species
Sadly there are many endangered species of animals across the world, some of which could have a huge impact on the natural processes of the planet. Furthermore, it is believed that hundreds or maybe even thousands of species become extinct each year. We have collected data about endangered mammals, birds, and fish to see which nations rank highest.
Luxembourg has zero mammals endangered which ranks them at number one, they are followed by Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, and the Marshall Islands on one.
When it comes to birds Luxembourg still ranks in the top three with the same number of endangered species. In second place comes the Caribbean island of Grenada, and the Maldives is at number one with zero species threatened.
Three nations have zero species of endangered fish and unsurprisingly they are all landlocked. Andorra, Paraguay, and South Sudan share the top of the rankings.
All Countries Ranked
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Methodology & Data Sources
- We sourced data on each of the above factors from the World Bank and gave each country a normalized score out of ten for each factor, before taking an average across all eight factors. For each factor we took the most recent year of available data and countries with no recent data were omitted.
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