It’s a tiny nation in the South Pacific, but it’s managed to make a big environmental change. Tokelau, which is an independent territory of New Zealand and comprises the islands of Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo, has become the first nation to become entirely dependent on solar power for all its energy needs.
With funding from the New Zealand government, Tokelau has constructed solar panels that produce 150 percent of the island’s electricity needs. And when the sun is unable to provide enough energy, such as on cloudy days and in the evenings, the islands will use coconut oil to produce power.
Previously, Tokelau relied on some 2,000 barrels of diesel per year to generate electricity—a trend in many remote South Pacific communities. The importing of fossil fuels is a huge financial and environmental drain on the region, especially in places such as Tokelau, which is perhaps one of the most remote of the South Pacific destinations. The closest atoll is approximately 500 kilometres north of Samoa, and there are no air landing strips or wharves. To access Tokelau, visitors need to take a boat from Samoa to the edge of Tokelau’s reefs; a landing barge then takes them onto shore.
If the project is successful, we could see plenty of other South Pacific islands following suit, creating a true environmentally friendly corner of the globe.
What other countries are recognized for sustainability? Here are our picks for the world’s top 10 eco-friendly countries!
10 Most Environmentally Friendly Countries
Costa Rica holds its rainforests and high biodiversity as a top priority. Deemed the world's ‘most natural conservation area,' Costa Rica protects more than 27% of its land by creating a network of Wildlife Refuges, Biological Reserves and National Parks.
Finland started the United Nation’s Environmental Programme (UNEP) Task Force for Sustainable Building and Construction, which looks at he sustainability of the building as well as the resources and process used to construct it.
Encouraging green living has been a top priority for the government in Latvia
Colombia is one of the world leaders in fuel-efficient mass transit.
This beautiful island nation off Africa’s coast has a very effective anti-litter campaign.
By 2030, it is estimated that Norway will become a country with virtually no industrial emissions of CO2. Not to mention that the country's breathtaking scenery is a national treasure which is well protected by progressive environmental legislation across the board!
Carbon emissions and fossil fuel output are heavily regulated in Sweden. Some cities in Sweden run entirely on biofuels, while many other cities also use many alternate energy resources.
Switzerland has many policies in place that encourage citizens to adopt green living such as charging for waste disposal and restricting the use of cars.
Cuba promotes eco-tourism and forest preservation. There is a large effort made to make sure the water is kept clean and housing is made eco-friendly.
France gets most of the its electricity from the use of nuclear power.
Did we miss any? What country would you pick as the most environmentally friendly?