It’s the 51st anniversary of Earth Day! Since its origin in 1970, Earth Day has grown to reach 190 countries with over 1 billion people mobilizing for change each year!
Over the past half a century, Earth Day has become even more important with each passing year. According to earthday.org “the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more and more apparent every day”.
As a celebration of eco-friendly Earth Day practices, wallethub.com compared all 50 states across “three dimensions: 1) Environmental Quality, 2) Eco-Friendly Behaviors and 3) Climate-Change Contributions”.
You can find more about each of these dimensions at the bottom of the list. With those determining dimensions in mind…
Here are the Top 20 eco-friendly states in the U.S.:
Vermont scored the highest in the entire country in terms of environmental quality and eco-friendly behaviors. Vermont scored as one of the best states for air quality and renewable energy. In 1968, Vermont passed an anti-billboard law in an effort to preserve the natural beauty of the state. If you’re concerned with being eco-friendly, Vermont is the place to be!
#2 New York
Having such a big city as #2 on the list might be surprising to you. In a way, the “big city” actually plays into its favor. New York has the second Lowest Energy Consumption per Capita in the country! Given the amount of public transportation available in the city, New York also has the Lowest Gasoline Consumption (in Gallons) per Capita in the country.
Home to the third most LEED-Certified Buildings in the country, Massachusetts earns its place on our list. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a green building certification program used worldwide. Massachusetts also has some of the strictest standards and highest quality drinking water in the country.
Like Massachusetts, Maryland is also on the LEED-Certified-Building list. Beyond that, Maryland has one of the Lowest Carbon Footprints per Capita in the country. They’ve developed a certification program for municipalities that want to go green. This saves them money and helps sustain their quality of life, and encourages eco-friendly behavior on a community level.
California is home to one of the most sustainable cities in the United States: San Francisco. SF was the first city in the US to ban plastic bags, straws, and utensils. The use of public transit over the use of vehicular transportation is encouraged not only socially but also by the landscape of the city.
Portland, Oregon has been home to a progressive community of people for many years. Since the 1990’s, there have been plans to improve energy and climate change policy, housing, clean energy, and public transport. You’ll find plenty of thrift shops, food truck pop-ups, and vegetation.
Every year since 2010, Minnesota has seen an increase in recycling rates. 2017 marked the highest year the state had ever recorded! If you’d like to learn more about Minnesota’s eco-friendly practices, Do It Green, a sustainability effort group, provides over 800 educational articles on their website specific to the Minnesota community.
Hawaii is second on the list (only to New York) in terms of Lowest Gasoline Consumption (in Gallons) per Capita. They’re top 5 in the Lowest Energy Consumption per Capita and they have an extensive plan to keep improving their sustainability. The Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan is likely to yield them even higher on the list in the next 30 years.
This may be the 3rd smallest state in the country but they are #1 in climate-change contributions. The program “Sustainable Connecticut” has a list of all communities registered in and certified in their sustainability programs. The program ranks each community by gold, silver, or bronze, and requires a certification period while providing a full report about the community results. Talk about being engaged!
The Evergreen State comes in third on the highest % of energy consumption from renewable sources. According to the United States EIA (Energy Information Administration) Washington “generated the most electricity from hydropower of any state and accounted for 24% of the nation’s annual utility-scale hydroelectricity generation”.
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