In the past couple of decades, Berlin has been undertaking somewhat of a green revolution. It is undeniable Berlin has always tried to maintain its greenery, with over 2,500 public parks and gardens in the city as well as approximately one fifth of the city’s land surface area covered by trees. But it is not solely the landscape which can be considered green. The cities inhabitants are increasingly becoming eco-friendly in all aspects of life. Now everywhere you look there is a noticeable effort to lessen the city’s impact on he environment from large carbon neutral government buildings, to promoting recycling. Also check out our 5 Free Things To Do In Berlin
As the locals have largely adopted this new way of living, visitors too should aim to be as green as possible whilst visiting the German capital. A good start to a more eco-friendly city break in Berlin would be to rent an apartment in the hip Kreuzberg area. This is a very eco-conscious area which voted Green party in the last general election and houses green spaces such as Viktoriapark and Görlitzer Park. Once you have your accommodation sussed, here are a few more ideas to help embrace the sustainable living style that makes Berlin such an iconic city.
Berlin – Where “Green” is the New “Black”
In recent years, Berlin has revolutionised transport around the city. As well as a comprehensive and increasingly energy efficient public transport network, the city boasts plenty of other green options for getting around as over 50% of Berliners don’t own a car. Last year there were 1.5 million bike journeys made everyday through the streets of Berlin, over three times as many as in London. The innovation continues as Berlin seeks to lower the effect of transport on their total carbon consumption. Just stroll through the city and you will probably encounter ranks of electric bicycles charging entirely by solar power. Velotaxis are a popular option for getting around and about. These are Berlin’s version of a pedal powered rickshaw and are made entirely from recycled materials. Similarly you could also catch a ride on an E-tuktuk. These are based on the same model as their South-East Asian counterpart but are powered entirely by an electric motor and comply with Europe’s highest safety ratings. This desire for environmentally friendly travel even led Berlin-based inventor Stefan Gulas to come up with the ErokIT – an electric bicycle-cum-motorbike which can reach speeds of up to 50 mph.
If you’re feeling a bit peckish in Berlin, you won’t have to look far to eat “green”. The bustling markets doted around the city are always packed with fresh, organic (Bio) produce. If you are looking for fast food, but want to avoid the standard greasy burger then head over to “Superfood”. This relatively cheap restaurant provides quick healthy organic meals for those on the go including a selection of vegan meals. Alternatively, you could head to Foodorama, Berlin’s first certified carbon neutral restaurant. Not only does this restaurant use fresh, organic ingredients but also directly helps support re-forestation projects in South Asia.
Berlin has a strong culture of recycling, especially for plastic and glass bottles. When buying beer from a shop you can expect to pay a supplementary deposit of between 8c-25c. You only receive this money back once the bottle has been taken to any recycling point in the city. Of course if you find yourself a long way from a recycling bank, there are sure to be a number of “bottle collectors” who travel around and earn money by collecting other peoples used bottles and recycling them.
A tourist can even help the cause whilst shopping. Eco-shopping is an incredibly popular concept in Berlin and a number of fashion brands promote themselves through their green label. This can be anything from using organic raw materials to promoting fair working conditions. This is a growing market in Berlin which holds two major eco-fashion fairs annually, the “Green Showroom” and the “Ethical Fashion Show”. Any Eco-tourist looking to stock up their fridge in their serviced apartment must make the trip to the LG Bio-Markt, Europe’s Largest organic supermarket, which stocks over 18,000 organic products.
Berlin has succeeded where many other major cities are failing. The green open spaces, improving air quality and general attitude to eco-friendly living makes the city a delightful place to visit and should be high up on any travellers list of “must-visit” places.
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