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Green Guide

Empowering yourself to heal our sick planet

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The rankings are in and it doesn't look good. Atlanta, according to a group called the Earth Day Network, comes in 64th out of 72 cities when it comes to its environmental report card. But the truth is such rankings are simplistic and misleading. The truth is Atlanta is worse off than that when it comes to the environment. And it's also much better.

If you counted purely the amount of greenhouse gases we spew into the atmosphere – from all that driving and from Georgia Power's coal-fired plants – we may very well be the most polluting metro area, per person, in America.

At the same time, there's a sliver of good news for the metropolis formerly known as "A City in a Forest." Did you know Atlanta's among the five leading cities in a program called LEED, which certifies green buildings? Did you know the EarthCraft energy-saving system devised by Southface Energy Institute is among the most successful green-housing programs in the country?

In the grand scheme of things, those are small steps. But they show that with a little creativity, committed people can make things happen. As Earth Day approaches, we salute those who've contributed in big and small ways to improving the metro area's environment – and we encourage you to take a few steps on your own.

— Ken Edelstein

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