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100 Greenest Cities in America: Where Does Your City Rank?

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Photo Credit: Vanatchanan / Shutterstock

By Robin Scher

There are many things to fear about Donald Trump's presidency. From a decline in socially progressive values to deteriorating international diplomatic relations, the political effects alone are cause for conniptions. Then there's the toll on the environment.

Where to begin? In short, protecting the climate isn't as profitable as selling oil. In the past, some governing bodies tried to push back against the influence money had over politics. That was until last November, when the country underwent a corporate coup d'etat. Now, our next potential head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a climate change denier-cum-fossil fuel shill.

Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. A recent executive order signed by Trump has ordered federal agencies to repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation issued in the future. Or, as environmentalists describe it, a means to dismantle existing protections. The GOP began its own battle against the environment recently when House Republicans voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, a measure that protects waterways and communities from the negative effects of unchecked coal mining.

The situation is pretty overwhelming, but this is not the time to give in to apathy. Instead, now more than ever, this is the time for action. And here's the good news: You don't need the national government to help dial back climate change. Federal cooperation would help a lot, of course, but it's vital to remember that your own local community has agency. As Margi Prideaux wrote in an article for AlterNet on this topic, "We need genuine delegation to communities to manage and protect what surrounds them."

As of 2014, 54 percent of the world's population lives in urban areas. This means that cities carry much of the burden when it comes to climate change action. This is a good thing for two main reasons, explained sustainable business analyst Adam Green in his article Why Cities Are Leading the Way in Sustainability. Green emphasized that "cities can act without going through the cumbersome climate negotiations process of reaching consensus and secondly the competition between cities is driving climate performance."

Enter WalletHub's analysis of America's greenest cities in 2016. To help encourage communities to take up the climate change fight, last year WalletHub, a personal finance website, compared data from 100 of the largest U.S. cities to determine which is the greenest of them all.

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