With Earth Day fast approaching, personal finance website WalletHub released its annual list of the greenest states in the U.S. On a political map, the blue states turn out to be more eco-friendly than the red states in 2017.
WalletHub analysts ranked the 50 states based on 20 key metrics that determine green behavior. The metrics include a state's quality of air, water, soil, LEED-certified buildings per capita, percent level of energy consumption from renewable resources, energy consumption per capita, gasoline consumption per capita, recycled municipal solid waste, and total municipal solid waste per capita. The current tally revealed only minor changes with the exception of Rhode Island replacing New Jersey on the top 10 list of the greenest states in 2017.
Vermont secured the top spot as the greenest U.S. state in 2017. Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, Connecticut followed behind in the top five. Wyoming, on the other hand, came at the tail end despite topping the highest air quality. The Cowboy State revealed poor soil quality as well as one of the highest energy and gasoline consumption per capita.
Missouri managed their municipal solid waste the best and kept it at a minimum of 0.82 tons, 3.4 times much better than Hawaii which topped at 2.76 tons. The Aloha State also had one of the poorest water quality, next only to New York. The Empire State did a better job on its transportation system that resulted in the least number of people driving to work.
Prof. Nancy Engelhardt Furlow of Marymount University said there's no "one-size-fits-all solution" when it comes to environmental efforts, according to Eco Building Pulse. She explained that locations would determine the importance of a particular green behavior because "the challenges for each location are different." That's why it's more important for California to preserve water consumption than it would be for states near the Chesapeake Bay, which deem the responsible use of pesticides and fertilizers as more important.