NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 22, 2009

Of the estimated 1 billion people who will observe Earth Day worldwide this year, few will know about the progress that has been made.  The world, especially in developed nations, is a cleaner -- and greener -- place than it was when the environmental movement began, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

Every year Steven Hayward, a scholar at the Pacific Research Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, compiles his Index of Leading Environmental Indicators.  And every year, his findings contradict the alarmists' warnings that the world is on the edge of environmental cataclysm.  From evidence "that tropical rain forests may now be expanding faster than they are being cut down" to the improving health of U.S. ocean fisheries to better outdoor air quality in American cities with the worst air pollution, Hayward shows there's more to be optimistic about than there is to be troubled about.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also published its own Report on the environment.  Last year's report, the most recent, indicates outdoor air quality has improved, there's been a net gain in wetland acreage, public-source drinking-water problems are uncommon and forest land is expanding after declining for a century.

  • Americans are actually generating no more trash per-capita than they were in 1990.
  • Our production of hazardous waste has fallen from 36 million tons in 1999 to 28 million tons in 2005.
  • Lead levels in our blood have shown "a steady decline since the 1980s."

And then there's carbon dioxide, says IBD.  We are pumping out more than ever, but there's no evidence, only speculation, that this weak greenhouse gas is having any effect on the environment.

Overall, the health of the U.S. population has continued to improve, the EPA says.  Mortality rates continue to decline, and life expectancy continues to increase.

Source: Editorial, "Save Capitalism," Investor's Business Daily, April 22, 2009.


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