After years of setbacks on the environment, in the Biden administration’s early days, it is critical that we take swift action to clean up our environment and address the climate crisis. There are several important environmental policies that can be set in motion on day one that will protect our natural landscapes and give Americans cleaner air, cleaner water and a more livable climate. This report lists the First Thigns to Fix.
Plastic pollution has quickly become a global environmental and public health threat, being met with growing public concern here in Pennsylvania, across the U.S. and around the planet.
All told, Americans generate over 35 million tons of plastic waste every year, 90% of which is landfilled or incinerated. In fact, the US throws out enough plastic every 16 hours to fill the Dallas Cowboys stadium, and that amount is increasing.
The U.S. throws out enough plastic every 16 hours to fill the Cowboys football stadium, and that amount is increasing. Our society continually produces goods designed to be used once or temporarily and then thrown away. Most discarded materials are then landfilled or incinerated, creating pollution and requiring producers to extract more natural resources to make new materials.
This waste is by design. Producers have the ability to make products that are more durable and more easily fixed when they break, as well as packaging that is less wasteful and more readily reused or recycled. They simply choose not to. The reason is clear: As long as individuals, governments, our environment and future generations – not producers – bear the costs of our throwaway society, those who design and make the products we buy have no incentive to change.
Clean energy is sweeping across America and is poised for more dramatic growth in the coming years.
Wind and solar energy were just beginning to take off ten years ago; today, they are everyday parts of America’s energy landscape. America produces almost four times as much renewable electricity from the sun and wind as it did in 2010. Today, wind, solar and geothermal power provide nearly 10% of our nation’s electricity.
PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.