Does being green make up for being dangerous?

So last fall Oakland made headlines for getting named the nation’s fourth most dangerous city by CQ Press. I’m sure City leaders are hoping that Popular Science naming us the country’s fourth greenest city will generate as much attention.

So what was it that makes us so green? Is it our bold stance against plastic bags and styrofoam? Is it our ludicrous promise to be Oil Independent by 2020?

Um, no. Popular Science uses the following boring old criteria: electricity (how much energy is drawn from renewable sources), transportation (how many commuters take public transit or carpool to work), green living (how many LEED buildings; how many parks), and recycling/green perspective (how comprehensive is our recycling program; how important to citizen think green issue are).

Here’s how we stacked up:
Electricity: 7/10
Green Living: 3.1/5
Recycling/Perspective: 4.9/5
Total: 22.5

And the rest of the top 10:
1. Portland, OR: 23.1
2. San Francisco, CA: 23.9
3. Boston, MA: 22.7
4. Oakland, CA: 22.5
5. Eugene, OR: 22.4 (Eugene, BTW, has full featured BRT, which has been phenomenally successful. In the first 9 months of service, ridership along the corridor increased 46%.)
6. Cambridge, MA: 22.2
7. Berkeley, CA: 22.2
8. Seattle, WA: 22.1
9. Chicago, IL: 21.3
10. Austin, TX: 21.0

We also got featured as one of six special case studies for AC Transit’s hydrogen fuel cell buses. Interestingly, the story fails to mention that the hydrogen these buses run on is fossil fuel derived.

In other ranking-related news, US News just named OAK the least miserable of the nation’s 47 largest airports. Go us!

3 thoughts on “Does being green make up for being dangerous?

  1. Moschops

    Great, my city is 4th greenest and my lungs are 4th blackest. I live downwind of the port of Oakland – bless their $220M profit in 2006, I so want to suck on your particulate matter until it makes me choke. Sputter, sputter, sputter…. Meanwhile everyone is running around distracted by smoking and fireplace ordinances – hasn’t anyone watched the huge plumes of black c**p pouring into the air from ship. trucks and Schnitzer Steel?

  2. V Smoothe Post author

    Moschops -

    I’m not sure where you came up with that $220m figure for Port profit. Looking at the Port’s budget (PDF!), I see total revenues of $267M in 2005-06 and $277M in 2006-07. Subtract operating expenses of $220M in 2005-06 and $234M in 2006-07, and you’re left with $47M in 2005-06 and $57M in 2006-07.