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Monday, May 04, 2009

Did You Know

Since I'm sick of hearing about the swine flu all last week, I decided to pull some happy environmental news off treehugger.com. Did you know...

  • The United States makes up less than 5 percent of the population on earth, yet we easily consume over 30 percent of its resources. While us humans would appear to be doing well, spreading our population like wild fire across the globe, the diminishing resources and other life forms on the planet tell a different story. "We are in the midst of a mass extinction, an event not seen since the disappearance of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago," says Worldwatch Institute.
  • Billions of plastic bags are made each year. Of these bags, one hundred billion are thrown away according to Worldwatch Institute, with less than 1 percent finding their way into a recycle bin. The end result of this is around 1 billion birds and mammals dying each year by the ingestion of plastic.
  • Americans dump 16 tons of sewage into their waters, every minute.
  • If the number of cars keeps increasing at its present rate, there will be over one billion on the road by 2025. There is currently around 700 million cars on the road today producing 900 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. This equals approximately 15 percent of our total output. Sadly, one half of these trips in the U.S. are within 3 miles and could easily be walked in less than an hour.
  • A single quart of motor oil dumped on the ground or in the trash, can contaminate up to two million gallons of fresh water.
  • A large study has found that up to one half of all plants and animals species on dry land could face extinction by the year 2050 due to global warming. According to the World Resources Institute, 100 species die each day due to tropical deforestation.
  • A plant called the rosy periwinkle, which grows in the “rainforests” of Madagascar, has been used to make a drug that can cure some kinds of cancer. Imagine all the other miracles we may have already lost out on
  • Some scientists believe that at the current rate of resource depletion, the Earth will become limited to sustaining only about 2 billion humans by the year 2100. Currently there are over 6.7 billion lives on the earth to support, and of these nearly 15 million children die each year of malnutrition and starvation. In the U.S., one third of the population is overweight and spends approximately $35 billion to cure this “disease”. $20 billion is all that would be necessary to feed every single malnourished nation.
  • The assets of the world's three richest men are shockingly much more than the combined GNP of every single one of the least developed countries around the globe.
  • The Clean Air Council tells us that in the United States, we generate millions of tons of municipal waste each year, equaling approximately 4.3 pounds per person per day and 56 tons per person per year. Of that, 95 percent is deposited into overflowing landfills of which one out of two have been deemed in desperate need of repair due to leaks and contamination of ground soil.
  • Eighty-four percent of the typical waste coming out of a U.S. Household (food, yard waste, paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum cans, etc.) is recyclable.
  • 31 countries around the world today face chronic freshwater shortages. In another 20 years, that number will increase to over 50 countries (2.8 billion people). Meanwhile, the United States continues to import bottled water for its consumers, of which burns about 1.5 million barrels of oil just to get it here, and costs over 10,000 times what a glass of tap water would be. All in all, bottled water per gallon has become more of a costly resource than gasoline itself.
  • The typical U.S. Home uses no less than about 300 gallons of water every single day. Many people around the world have to travel miles just to carry back 5 gallons to use for an entire family.
  • Water is quickly becoming a private commodity. At its current rate of acquisition, 70 percent of all water systems in Europe and North America may soon be owned by private corporations.
  • Just about every single healthy person reading this article has between 70 and 90 industrial chemicals and pollutants flowing through their circulatory system at this very moment. We get these from the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. The United States uses 100 different pesticides each year, equaling 2.2 billion pounds of toxic chemicals (carcinogens, birth defects, gene mutations.

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