Keywords: environmental governance, social governance, corporate governance, environmental inequality, environmental justice, political polarisation, cultural wars, neo–institutional theory, politics, pollution releases, pollution amounts, USA, United States, presidential elections, Republican Party, GOP, Grand Old Party, political parties, Democratic Party, ideological divides, ideologies, demographics, industrial contaminants, votes, voters, voting patterns, ideological disparities, awareness levels, environmental quality, local environments, red states, blue states, environment, interdisciplinary approaches
Political polarisation and environmental inequality: a pilot study of pollution release amounts and practices in 'red' versus 'blue' states
This study explores a new effect of political polarisation upon the American landscape: environmental inequality. The study theorises that the 'red' state (voting predominately Republican in presidential elections)/'blue' state (voting predominately Democratic in presidential elections) ideological divide may serve as a more reliable and consistent measure of environmental inequality at the state level than income, race, and other demographics. The study finds statistically significant differences in the total amounts of industrial contaminants released, and the way that they are released, on a population–adjusted basis in the collective 22 'red' versus 22 'blue' states. The results suggest that political polarisation - as a proxy for ideologically–driven disparities in relative levels of awareness and concern about environmental quality - may result in materials differences in the amounts and ways industrial contaminants are released in local environments.