BY: THE PLAID ZEBRA
All of these locations are Plaid Zebra certified with creative, forward-thinking initiatives that make them incredible spots to call home.
Finland is often looked up to as having one of the greatest, if not the greatest, education systems in the world. The Finnish government has wisely opted to invest completely in the intelligence of the country’s citizens. All education—from kindergarten to part-time adult classes—is completely free. Classes are never bigger than 20 students, teachers are given the freedom to modify classes to better suit their students, and the curriculum is constantly being reworked to adapt to real-world skills. It’s a system that allows students to remain a round peg, rather than trying to fit them into a square hole.
On Vancouver Island, nestled within the small surfing town of Tofino, is a nature lover’s paradise. Owned by 63-year-old Michael Poole, Poole’s Land is a wide swath of private property that is nonetheless open to the public, encompassing an entire rainforest with trails that lead out into openings designed to elevate tents. It offers firewood, electricity, hot showers, and—clinching the deal—homegrown pot and ‘shrooms, in exchange for various kinds of work that need to be done on the property.
This state is a testament to working effectively within the system to do good for the community. Since being elected as governor in 2012, Mark Dayton has introduced many progressive policies to Minnesota that have greatly benefitted its inhabitants. He has raised minimum wage, legalized same-sex marriage, and passed an act devoted to ensuring women in the workforce have equal rights to men. As a result, Minnesota’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the United States, and the state has been operating at a billion-dollar surplus while putting more money into education, health care, and services for the poor.
Major cities are incredibly expensive to live in, and rent prices are constantly on the rise. Aside from making it increasingly more difficult for young people to live in the hip urban centres that should be their domains, gentrification has the more important consequence of displacing lower-income inhabitants who have lived there for decades. Meanwhile, Berlin has become the first German city to pass rent-control legislation, which will prevent rents from increasing to insane levels. This will make it easier than ever to live in one of the coolest cities on the planet.
In the past few months, France has become one of the more progressive countries in the world. As a response to pressure from environmental activists, every new building constructed in the country’s commercial zones must have roofs that contain sections for solar panels or green spaces. In May, supermarkets were legally banned from throwing out unsold food, requiring them instead to donate it for either human consumption or animal feed. Finally, just a couple weeks ago France made it illegal for the fashion industry to utilize unhealthily skinny women as models.