Are You Moving to a Green Zone?

From on April 30, 2009 in Locations

One of the pitfalls of relocating to an unfamiliar area is not really knowing what it’s like there. Will your new neighbors be the type of people you get along well with? Will the new community offer the type of atmosphere you are comfortable in? Along with seeking common threads to tie you to your new surroundings, you may also be wondering if the area you are moving to is green - both literally and figuratively. green-neighborhood.jpgPhoto Credit: Randy Son Of Robert

The More the Green, the Lower the Crime Rate

Doctors, politicians, and civil servants are all starting to find correlations between green and health and safety. In their scenarios, though, they are talking lush vegetation and actual verdant appearance on the landscape. A study conducted by Texas A&M University discovered that the more greenness found in an area, the lower the crime rate in that area. Researchers took color-infrared aerial photographs around Austin, Texas and overlapped their geographic findings atop a map of crime areas for the city and found that “83 percent of all crimes occurred in areas with greenness values below 34 percent.”

Higher Health Rate Linked to Greener Spaces

On the health front, living in a heavily vegetated area is also related to lower stress levels and lower child obesity rates. Medical studies have found that children living in greener spaces had a slower rate of increase in body mass than children living in inner cities.

Newer studies are using satellites to look at geographic areas to determine the greenness of an area, not just how much vegetation is present in a location, but also how healthy it is. Plant life has so many benefits to humans when it’s healthy, including reducing pollution, keeping things cooler and more attractive, as well as providing great areas for exercise and outdoor activity. All of these things contribute to a healthier life.

Eco-Friendly Neighbors Are Friendly Neighbors

On the other hand, though, when you’re moving into a new area, you’ll want to know what the current residents are doing to keep their community green. How are they helping to save their part of the planet?

One way to check on the eco-friendliness of your new town is to check it out on the Internet. See what type of sites pop up when you Google it - you may find some data about events and activities going on there that could clue you in as to what your new neighbors are into. Also, if you check out Green Eco Communities, they have tons of stories and articles about cities and towns across the nation - yours might be there!

green-suburb.jpgPhoto Credit: Mo Kaiwen

The best way to find out if you’re moving to greener pastures is to just go there and visit. Do you see recycle bins out at the curb on trash day? Are the grocery store check-out lines lined with shoppers using canvas totes or paper bags? Check out the schools and see if they have recycling programs. Although you may be more shy than I am, my personal favorite for finding out what an area is like is to find a spot where people go to just sit and hang out (like a busy park, the coffee shop, even the book store) and just start striking up conversations. You’d be surprised at the amount of information people are willing to share with strangers and here’s a tip: if you meet a bunch of uptight, tight-lipped people then you might not have found the friendliest place on earth. Most eco-minded people are very outgoing with their environmental views and will embrace the idea of community involvement, information sharing, and having others who care as much as they do in their home town.