Each year, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, marking the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. What started as a grassroots American political movement to protest the harmful environmental effects of a century and a half of industrialization is now a global event. This Sunday, the 48th anniversary of the first Earth Day is expected to draw participation from some 1 billion people across 192 countries.
Earth Day targets a different cause each year. The aim of Earth Day 2018 is to raise awareness and ultimately end plastic pollution,which is an increasing threat to the health of the planet and marine life in particular. According to some estimates, over 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year.
In the United States, environmental challenges are of course not limited to plastic pollution. The environment continues to face a range of threats, including under-regulated natural resource extraction, water pollution, and the destruction of natural habitats by industrial activities. In addition, carbon emissions from personal vehicles as well as power plants add to pollution.
In recognition of Earth Day and the critical importance of sustainable environmental practices, 24/7 Wall St. ranked all 50 states based on how environmentally friendly they are. The rank is based on an index consisting of a range of measures, including the share of residents who commute either by carpool, public transit, walking, or biking. We also considered air pollution levels across each state and the level of consumption of renewable energy. States are ranked from the most environmentally friendly to the least.