Yes, we still have a long way to go, but increasingly, America is making strides in energy efficiency and responsible waste disposal.

Sometimes, it seems like sustainability is a whole lot of doom and gloom, followed by public shaming. Panic, followed by a call to action, is the norm. Today, people are frequently exposed to news of the increasing effects of climate change, pollution, and the ravages of unsustainable practices. This bombardment of information can make it difficult to maintain any hope for our collective future. However, all is not lost. We’re moving in the right direction on a number of fronts.

Below are 5 things the United States is doing right:

1. Energy use is trending downward: per capita and per dollar of GDP.


Photo Credit: U.S. Energy Information Association

2. Coal and Petroleum are trending down, biofuels and natural gas are trending up.

Photo Credit: U.S. Energy Information Association

This is a mixed bag. Coal and petroleum are the worst, but natural gas has a few drawbacks as well.

3. Energy consumption by light-duty vehicles is dropping.


Photo Credit: U.S. Energy Information Association

4. Per Capita garbage generation is beginning to decline – for the first time since 1960.


Photo Credit: Environmental Protection Agency

5. Recycling rates are skyrocketing.


Photo Credit: Environmental Protection Agency

We’re moving in the right direction and making progress. Progress is hope, hope is empowerment, and empowerment creates solutions.

How about a pat on the back? Keep up the good work, America.