While an increasing number of major cities are striving to become more climate-friendly, one particular European capital stands out with its sustainability efforts so far. It’s no other than Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, whose notable climate measures have won it the title of the European Green Capital for 2023. So what can other cities from around the world learn from this climate-friendly Baltic city?
Cows, pollinating insects, and cyclists
According to the European Commission, the top qualities that qualified Tallinn as Europe’s next Green Capital were the city’s efforts to protect public land, reduce noise pollution, and improve water quality.
“Tallinn […] demonstrated commitment and concrete actions to create healthier, better places for its citizens,” said Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius.
40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030
Tallinn’s 2030 climate strategy intends to pave the way for a “healthy city environment and sustainable use of natural resources” by the year 2030.
Increasing greenery around the city is a key element of Tallinn’s concerted efforts to become more environmentally friendly. And that doesn’t only involve planting more trees in the city, but also maintaining wilderness within its parks and nature reserves — all in a bid to boost the number of pollinators and encourage biodiversity within its urban fabric. Working towards that goal is a herd of Scottish Highland cows that can be seen grazing in the Paljassaare nature reserve.
“The aim is to enlarge the possibilities for the pollinators and also attract more people to use the pollinator highway as a green corridor which goes through six city districts,” Liivi Maekallas, gardener and landscape architect, told euronews.
Free public transportation for all of its residents
The city’s expanding green corridors are also part of its strategy to encourage people to move away from using private vehicles and take up cycling and walking instead. The city has already made a huge step towards decreasing the number of cars on its roads back in 2013 when it made public transportation free for all of its residents.
“For us, a green capital means that Tallinn is inviting, comfortable, and clean – a city of the future,” said Mihhail Kõlvart, the mayor of Tallinn. “The time has passed when the protection of nature and the progress of people are opposites – we have learned to associate innovation and development with a sustainable economy and green thinking.”