So a lot of people like to talk about how the environment is collapsing around us (despite limited evidence that the climate change we’re seeing is anything other than one of the natural climate changes that have happened periodically throughout the history of the world—an inverse ice age, if you will). But what many in the United States don’t get is how much better the environment in our country is today than 36 years ago, and much it continues to improve.

Since 1970, carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S. are down 55 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Particulate emissions are down nearly 80 percent, and sulfur dioxide emissions have been reduced by half. Lead emissions have declined more than 98 percent. All of this has been accomplished despite a doubling of the number of cars on the road and a near-tripling of the number of miles driven, according to Steven Hayward of the Pacific Research Institute. . . .