Research: Green Living Hotspots in the USA

November 21, 2022

We’ve all seen the headlines and heard the iconic speeches regarding climate change, greenhouse gasses and global warming. We are also aware of the enormous impact these matters have on the world, with the past eight years being the warmest on record. The conversation is fueled by extreme heat waves, devastating flooding, air quality and drought, which has affected millions of people across the globe and cost countries billions of dollars. 

 

With conversation around the topic of climate change and pollution accelerating at a rapid pace, it’s important to remember that it’s not all doom and gloom. There is a glimmer of hope, one that lies in organic living, organic farming and sustainability. 

 

We’ve taken an in-depth look at the USA’s most impressive Green living states and ranked the following data points based on organic farms, national park coverage, air quality, carbon footprint, solar energy, renewable energy and the demand for electric cars. 

 


Top Overall Rank for Green Living States

 

The data reveals that Washington DC is the best overall state for green living, placing it in the top 5 for 6 of the 8 factors included in this research. The capital boasts the most wind farms (818), and comes in third for best air quality and takes another third for the highest demand for electric cars. Hawaii, California, Oregon and Massachusetts roundup the top spots after Washington. 

 

Top National Park Coverage

 

National parks are vital to the fight against climate change as they are able to reduce carbon pollution. These parks also have the ability to protect people and infrastructure from severe weather changes while reducing health challenges that are made worse by climate. Hawaii takes the top spot for the state with the highest percentage of national park coverage, with parks covering an astounding 9.41% of the state's 4,134,000 acres - that’s almost 5 times more than the US state average of 1.9%.  Alaska and California come in second and third with 9.10% and 7.49% respectively. 

 

Top Organic Farm Ratio 

 

The use of organic farming methods to fight climate change is quickly gaining global attention as this agricultural strategy is leading the way in reducing energy consumption which in turn, mitigates the negative effects of energy emissions. 

When it comes to the state with the top organic farm ratio, Vermont takes center stage, with 1 in 10 farms being organic. Maine takes second place with 1 in 17 organic farms, while California comes in third with 1 in 23. 

 

Top Air Quality Index

 

Pollution has a considerable impact on our climate and people, and this has become a serious issue across the United States. Hawaii is leading the way in air quality, having scored 21.2 on the air quality index. Alaska takes second place with 29.1, while Washington takes third with 33.5. For some perspective, the average air quality across states is currently sitting in the 40s. 

 

Top Solar Energy Usage

 

Solar power is a truly renewable energy source and significantly reduces impact on the environment. No greenhouse gas emissions are released when solar panels are used to create electricity and unlike fossil fuels, solar energy doesn’t contaminate water or generate waste. When it comes to solar energy usage, the state average sits at 24. California sits at 437.7 and is by far the State with the highest solar energy usage. While Florida and Texas come in second and third with 94.5 and 89.7 respectively. 

 

Top Renewable Energy Usage

 

Renewable energy reduces emissions into the environment, leading to a reduction in greenhouse gasses and air pollution, making for a greener world. Texas is the nation's number one producer of renewable energy, with our study finding the state uses 1150.2 Trillion BTU and generates the majority of its renewable electricity by using wind turbines. California comes in at second with 1140.5 while Washington comes in at third with 884.9, the study average being 228.

 

Top Demand for Electric Cars

 

Electric vehicles are vital in meeting the global goals regarding climate change as they limit warming to below 2C or 35,6F, which is in line with the Paris Agreement targets, a treaty on climate change that was adopted in 2015. California is leading the way when it comes to electric car usage and demand. Our findings show that . Over the last decade, annual sales for electric cars in California have increased from 7000 in 2021 to an astounding quarter of a million in 2021. 

 

State with the Lowest Carbon Footprint

 

Carbon dioxide emissions are one of the leading factors of climate change and in order to reduce or slow the effects of climate change, it is important to reduce our emissions as much as possible. Vermont is the state with the lowest carbon emissions, at 5 million metric tons. Rhode Island comes in second place with 10 million metric tons while New Hampshire takes the third spot in the lowest carbon emissions in the nation at 12 million metric tons. When it comes to year over year change in this regard, Hawaii is on target to meet its emissions limit thanks to its greenhouse gas program. 

 

In Summary

 

Today, it is more important than ever to adopt a greener lifestyle, and any small changes can help reduce the impact of climate change and pollution. The above data highlights the steps States are taking to reduce their impact on the environment, which gives us a glimpse into the future of sustainable living.