Index of Leading Environmental Indicators
Report Released for Earth Day 2008
Summary from the Pacific Research Institute:
• The latest UN report on global forest trends shows that Asia has reversed deforestation over the last decade and is now experiencing net forest growth -- even in China.
• Forestland in the U.S. has been expanding at a rate of nearly 1 million acres a year over the last generation
• Air pollution will be eliminated entirely in the U.S. within about 20 years. Levels of air pollution have fallen between 25 and 99 percent (depending on which pollutant examined), with the nation's worst areas showing the most progress. For example, Los Angeles has gone from having nearly 200 high ozone days in the 1970s to less than 25 days a year today. Many areas of the Los Angeles basin are now smog-free year round. The number of Stage 1 smog alerts has gone from several hundred annually in the 1970s to none at all in the 21st century.
• Water pollution is more stubborn and harder to measure, but here too there have been major improvements since the first Earth Day in 1970. The Great Lakes have been cleaned up, with many previously endangered species of birds now thriving. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland doesn't catch fire any more.
• The amount of toxic chemicals used in American industry has fallen by 61 percent over the last 20 years, even as industrial output has grown.
The Full 100 page report (PDF) is available from The Pacific Research Institute