Town Hall Meeting

22 Apr 2009

America is 39th “cleanest” Country in the World

Filed under: — Al @ 11:03 am

That’s 39th out of a possible 149, which means the US is in the 74th percentile, a weak “C” grade. On this Earth Day, this recent report is important to think about. Remember that April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans demonstrated to demand fixing the horribly polluted environment in the US, the largest demonstration in US history. Nixon was forced to create the EPA because of all this pressure. Starting with Nixon though, each administration did its best to undermine the EPA’s mission and make sure corporations could profit despite disastrous pollution: the result, we are 39th, just behind Uruguay, and just ahead of Greece.

Study by Columbia and Yale…

The U.S., once a leader in environmental protection, has failed to keep pace. “Starting 25 years ago, the United States started to fall behind in relative terms. Before that time, Europe always had dirtier air and drinking water,” says Mark Levy, associate director of Columbia University’s earth science center. Then-President George H. W. Bush signed the last significant American air quality legislation in 1990, an amendment to the Clean Air Act. The U.S. scores a meager 63.5 on the ecosystem vitality scale, vs. an average score of 74.2 for the world’s richest nations. The U.S.’ overall EPI score is 81, putting it in 39th place on the list.

Here are two examples of countries ahead of the US:

Switzerland, Score: 95.5 No. 1 Overall
The world’s fifth most affluent nation on a GDP-per-capita basis is also the world’s cleanest. Switzerland scores a perfect 100 in eight environmental indicators, including sanitation and water quality, forest health and pesticide regulation. All that cleanliness translates into a life expectancy of 81 years for the Swiss. But Switzerland’s mountainous landscape forces farmers to grow crops on every slope and in every cranny, reducing the country to a merely average score in agricultural practices.

Japan, Score: 84.5 No. 21 Overall
Japan’s life expectancy of 82.12 years is the world’s longest, due in part to the country’s excellent sanitation infrastructure, avoidance of chemical pesticides and relatively low levels of air pollution. Japan even gets a perfect score of 100 for its efforts to conserve forests. But overfishing of coastal waters earns Japan a score of 81.6 for the measure of marine biodiversity, vs. 88.8 for its regional peers.

You can find the source material for the Columbia/Yale study at these two sites:

Check out this brand new Frontline report on the health of America’s waterways.

Use those canvas bags when going shopping, we’ve got a looong way to go!! :)

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