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Rounding out the top five were New York, Oregon, Connecticut, and Minnesota, in that order.
The remaining bottom five were West Virginia, Wyoming, Kentucky, and North Dakota.
There were some surprises among the various lists such as North Dakota having the cleanest air, and Hawaii having the highest amount of municipal solid waste per capita.
One of the study’s authors, Dr. Helene Gardner of the University of California at Santa Barbara, looking at the results concluded that “there is no inherent trade-off between protecting the environment and promoting economic growth. That is a fallacy that has been promoted by some businesses that do not want to have to invest in green technologies like putting SO2-scrubbers on the stacks of coal-burning facilities.” The authors also looked at how the “red” states compared with “blue” in terms of “greenness.” Not surprisingly, the blue states averaged were ranked at #12, while the red states averaged were ranked at #34.
Why This Matters: The only way for states to improve in eco-friendliness is through studies like this one performing a relative ranking using objective criteria. As WalletHub points out, environmental issues are ultimately pocketbook ones; “[o]ur environmental and financial needs are the same in many areas: providing ourselves with sustainable, clean drinking water and food, for example. We also spend money through our own consumption and taxes in support of environmental security.” In this respect, at least, competition among the states is a good thing.
To Go Deeper: You can study the top and bottom states in all the categories by clicking here.
The pandemic has upended most of our lives, but it has also made us more aware of our environment — clean air, birds in our neighborhood, and how much we love being outdoors. We are also appreciative more appreciative of the green spaces in and around our homes — whether it’s indoor plants, the tree […]
As the Ocean Conservancy explained, every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments. Many of these plastics are microscopic (smaller than 5 millimeters long) and are readily consumed by marine life as well as humans. Unfortunately, we […]
May is national bike month when usually there is a big push to get more people in the U.S. to bike to work and shop due to its environmental and health benefits – even during a global pandemic, the popularity of biking continues to rise.
Why This Matters: Leaders and urban planners in Europe believe that people there are now appreciative of the lack of air pollution and will want to keep the air clear, in addition to the benefits from a health and safety standpoint.
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