Iceland ranked as most eco-friendly country

19th Sep 2011
Written by: James Roberts

Iceland ranked as most eco-friendly country

Iceland is a fascinating country. Its capital, Reykjavík, is the northernmost capital in the world, and in summer the sun never truly sets. Iceland is also famous for its exports, such as Bjork and Sigur Ros.

To add to its accolades, it’s just been ranked as the most environmentally friendly country in the world, according to a recent survey.

Costa Rica was a slight surprise being ranked third and communist Cuba managed to sneak into the top 10.

In terms of regions, Europe ranked very well, with six countries in the top 10.

The Yale University’s Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network ranked countries based on their Environmental Performance Index (EPI), giving a score out of 100.

The EPI evaluates policies in regards to environmental health, climate change, water resources, air pollution, productive natural resources, habitat, and biodiversity.

The top 10 countries are:

  1. Iceland (93.5)
  2. Switzerland (89.1)
  3. Costa Rica (86.4)
  4. Sweden (86.0)
  5. Norway (81.1)
  6. Mauritius (80.6)
  7. France (78.2)
  8. Austria (78.1)
  9. Cuba (78.1)
  10. Colombia (76.8)

The best of the rest:

  1. United Kingdom (74.2)
  2. New Zealand (73.4)
  1. Canada (66.4)
  1. Australia (65.7)
  1. United States of America (63.5)

The lowest ranked country on the EPI was Sierra Leone ( 163rd) with a score of 32.1. This also correlates with Africa being ranked as the least environmentally friendly region in the world.

It’s surprising to see Canada, Australia and the USA so low down the list.

It looks like if you’re thinking of an eco-friendly gap year then you should head to Iceland instead of Australia. On that note, has anyone ever been to Iceland?

What do you think of the Environmental Performance Index? Do you think about environmentally friendly ways of backpacking on your gap year? Post your thoughts below…

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