The Greenest States in America, Ranked

iStock
iStock

Which states are doing their part to save the environment and which ones need to shape up? Financial advisory website WalletHub decided to crunch the numbers and find out. The result is the interactive map below, which ranks the greenest states in America based on 23 metrics across three categories: environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors (which are, of course, tied to spending), and climate change contributions. Some of the metrics include carbon dioxide emissions and gasoline consumption per capita.

Source: WalletHub

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the greenest state based on overall rank is Vermont, which lived up to the "green" in its Green Mountain State nickname, with a score of 75.48. Oregon comes in at number two (74.23) with Massachusetts holding third place (72.63). Coming in last place, with a score of only 25.08, is West Virginia. So, what's separating the green states and the not-so-green states? Recycling.

One of the most dramatic differences between the two groups is percentage of recycled municipal waste (Maine scored highest in this area, while Louisiana came in last). Air quality was yet another big factor, with Wyoming coming out on top and California in last place (though it ranked number 9 overall, so they're clearly doing lots of other things right). Soil quality, most LEED-certified buildings, and energy and gasoline consumption were also among the factors considered.

So just where did your state land in the overall list? See below for the full ranking, and visit WalletHub to find further insights on how the list was calculated.

50. West Virginia
49. Louisiana
48. Kentucky
47. North Dakota
46. Alabama
45. Wyoming
44. Oklahoma
43. Texas
42. Indiana
41. Arkansas
40. Mississippi
39. Utah
38. Kansas
37. Ohio
36. Alaska
35. Virginia
34. Florida
33. Montana
32. Nebraska
31. Iowa
30. New Mexico
29. South Carolina
28. Arizona
27. Missouri
26. Illinois
25. Pennsylvania
24. Georgia
23. Tennessee
22. North Carolina
21. Colorado
20. Michigan
19. Delaware
18. Maryland
17. Washington
16. Hawaii
15. Idaho
14. Wisconsin
13. New Jersey
12. Nevada
11. Maine
10. Rhode Island
9. California
8. New Hampshire
7. Connecticut
6. Minnesota
5. South Dakota
4. New York
3. Massachusetts
2. Oregon
1. Vermont

[h/t WalletHub]

These Nature Posters Show the Most Endangered Animal in Each State

NetCredit
NetCredit

The U.S. has more than 1300 endangered or threatened species, from South Dakota's black-footed ferret to Colorado's Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly to the blue whales that live off the coast of Alaska. These wild animals could disappear if prompt wildlife conservation measures aren't taken, and people are largely to blame. Globally, human activities are the direct cause of 99 percent of threatened animal classifications, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Some of these animals may even be in your backyard. A research team commissioned by NetCredit used data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to highlight the most endangered animal in each state. For this project, "most endangered" refers to the animals that face the greatest risk of extinction. An art director and designer then teamed up to create gorgeous illustrations of each animal.

Since some regions are home to many of the same creatures, a different animal was selected from the shortlist of endangered species in cases where there were duplicates from one state to the next. The goal was to cast light on as many threatened species as possible, including the ones that rarely make headlines.

"We hope this will start a conversation around the fact that it's not just the iconic species we see on nature documentaries that we're at risk of losing forever," the research team said in a statement.

Take the black-footed ferret, for instance. It's the only ferret that's native to North America, but its ranks have dwindled as its main food source—prairie dogs—becomes harder to find. Prairie dog eradication programs and loss of the ferret's habitat (due to farming) are some of the factors to blame. A ferret breeding colony was established in the past, but only 200 to 300 of the animals still remain, rendering them critically endangered.

To learn more about some of America's most at-risk species, check out the posters below and visit NetCredit's website for the full report.

California's Point Arena mountain beaver
NetCredit

Alaska's blue whale
NetCredit

South Carolina's frosted flatwoods salamander
NetCredit

Minnesota's rusty patched bumble bee
NetCredit

New York's Eastern massasauga snake
NetCredit

West Virginia's Virginia big-eared bat
NetCredit

Florida's red wolf
NetCredit

The poster of endangered wildlife in all 50 states
NetCredit

The West Coast Is Preparing for Another Super Bloom

iStock.com/Ron_Thomas
iStock.com/Ron_Thomas

In spring of 2017, people flocked to Southern California's deserts to see fields of wildflowers brightening the normally sparse terrain. That level of vegetation, also known as a super bloom, is an event that only occurs after winters of heavier-than-average precipitation. Now just two years later, the rare sight is about to return to California's Anza-Borrego desert, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The 2018/2019 winter season was an unusually wet one for California. Between October 1 and the beginning of February, Downtown Los Angeles saw 12.91 inches of rain, which is approximately 167 percent more than the seasonal average. All that precipitation will produce an explosion of color when spring arrives in Anza-Borrego desert three hours southeast of Los Angeles. Experts predict the 2019 super bloom could start as early as late February and last through March.

If the last super bloom is any indication, this year's event will attract crowds of sight-seers. Anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 people visited the desert to look at and snap pictures of the flowers in 2017. Many local communities were overwhelmed by the influx of tourists, but this time around they know what to expect. Portable toilets will be set up around popular sites, and thousands of maps of showing where the flower fields, gas stations, and toilets are located are ready to be passed out to drivers.

Visitors also have a few things to learn from the past super bloom. Two years ago, foot traffic in places like the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve was so heavy that trails had to be closed down to protect delicate flowers from selfie-taking tourists.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER