America the Green (some restrictions may apply)

america_the_green.jpgForbes magazine has just released its survey of the “greenest state in the land of the free” (to borrow from the old Davy Crockett TV show theme).  Forbes ranked each state in six equally weighted categories: carbon footprint, air quality, water quality, hazardous waste management, policy initiatives and energy consumption. 

They ranked the states on policy initiatives according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s energy efficiency scorecard. For energy consumption and lifestyle choice, they examined vehicle miles traveled, number of alternative fuel and hybrid-electric vehicles per capita, and number of LEED-certified buildings, among other metrics. Data from the Energy Information Administration, EPA, Department of Transportation, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club also went into the brew.

Here’s what they came up with (you can click on the states near the top and bottom of the list for more detail). 

Rank
State
Score
1
Vermont 43.6
2
Oregon 43.6
3
Washington 43.4
4
Hawaii 41.3
5
Maryland 40.4
6
Connecticut 39.8
7
New Jersey 39.5
8
Rhode Island 38.7
9
New York 38.1
10
Arizona 37.9
11
Massachusetts 37.8
12
Idaho 37.2
13
Colorado 37.2
14
California 37.1
15
Minnesota 36.3
16
Wisconsin
35.7
17
Nevada
35.1
18
New Mexico
34.7
19
New Hampshire
33.7
20
Florida
32.9
21
South Dakota
32.6
22
Montana
31.5
23
Virginia
30.5
24
Michigan
30.3
25
Maine
29.9
26
North Carolina
29.5
27
Illinois
28.6
28
Utah
28.5
29
Georgia
28.2
30
Delaware
28
31
Kansas
27.7
32
Pennsylvania
27.5
33
Nebraska
27.5
34
Texas
26.5
35
Iowa
26.4
36
South Carolina
25.3
37
Wyoming
24.8
38
Oklahoma
24.2
39
Ohio
23.4
40
Alaska
22.7
41
Missouri
22.6
42
North Dakota
22.2
43
Tennessee
22.2
44
Arkansas
20.8
45
Kentucky
20.4
46
Mississippi 17.6
47
Louisiana 17
48
Alabama 15.8
49
Indiana 15.3
50
West Virginia
14.2

“So who’s at the bottom? Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Indiana and, at No. 50, West Virginia. All suffer from a mix of toxic waste, lots of pollution and consumption and no clear plans to do anything about it. Expect them to remain that way.”

And where does all that trouble in West Virginia come from?  Mostly from the literal destruction of the landscape in pursuit of coal, and the nasty consequences for everybody that lives downstream.  Meanwhile, my home state of Virginia is flirting with lowering our ranking by emulating our neighbors across the border to the West  with a spanking new coal-fired power plant (complicated by the fact that Dominion Power is currently under investigation by the NY Attorney General).  Maybe some peer pressure from the northeast is in order . . .

 

About Emmett Duffy

I am a Natural Patriot and an ecologist with expertise in biodiversity and its importance to human society. My day job is Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
This entry was posted in Biodiversity, Politics, Sustainability. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to America the Green (some restrictions may apply)

  1. Kevin says:

    Michigan is right in the middle. I hope that improves, but then again, every state should be moving to improving.

  2. Veolia says:

    The bottoms all, down in the South. I will probably take a lifetime to get better. My guess would be that these areas are quite poor, usually poor countries tend to care less about environment, which also is understandable, but sad.

    Here is some encouraging news I read


    Bangalore, Oct 8 (IANS) India’s multi-business conglomerate ITC Limited plans to take its “Wealth Out of Waste” (WOW) programme across the country, encouraged by its success in Hyderabad, Chennai and Coimbatore, as also in this IT capital, a company official said.

    WOW has been designed to manage waste from individual households as well as civic bodies. It discourages recyclable waste from going into landfills or getting burnt – both of which damage the environment, said Chand Das, chief executive of ITC’s education and stationery products business.

    ITC will collect dry recyclable waste from households for which the company will supply two coloured bags – blue for plastics and metal waste and white for paper waste.

    To encourage people to participate in the programme, ITC will pay Rs.5 for a blue bag and Rs.4.50 for white bag full of recyclable wastes, Das told IANS.”

    If only this mentality could spread to companies a little, responsibility.