Who’d a thunk it? Certainly not most of the residents of Broome County. But somehow Country Home magazine decided we ranked right up there with the likes of Ithaca, NY and Madison, WI in terms of providing the means to live an eco-friendly life. Actually, it sounds like Country Home hired Sperling BestPlaces (whoever they are) to make the determination:
The Best Green Places study, which is based on data discovered by Sperlingâ€™s BestPlaces, examines 24 data metrics in 5 major categories — including air and watershed quality, mass transit usage, power usage, farmers markets, organic producers, and number of green-certified buildings — to determine which metro areas are the best places to live a green life. Sperling’s BestPlaces ranked the 379 major metropolitan areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Over 80 percent of all U.S. residents live in these 379 metro areas.
Ever since IBM abandoned us, we’ve thought of ourselves as economically depressed. Well, guess what? No industry means no air and water pollution, and no outsiders moving in to build suburbs on your undeveloped land–I mean, watershed. Yes, our rolling hills and the Susquehanna River valley are scenic. But so is the rest of central New York.
True, we’ve got quite a few decent parks, Binghamton University has its Nature Preserve, and we have a number of walking trails. I can’t speak to the number of green-certified buildings in the area, but the last time I looked (a long time ago, granted) the Farmer’s Market was dinky. Are we really that much better than the 370 metropolitan areas we outranked?
Don’t get me wrong, I like living here. I bet most of the people living here, despite their grousing about the weather, like living here, too. We just don’t think of this area–or ourselves–as anything special. Ithaca, our neighbor, ranked second, and they’re wondering “why they didn’t make it to the very top of the list.” Binghamton ranked ninth, but we’re surprised that “Binghamton has made a Top 10 list that the Chamber of Commerce could actually tout to outsiders.” It’s a matter of attitude, and maybe it’s time for our attitude to change.