In honor of Mother Earth today on Earth Day I thought I would post a list of alarming statistics. I compiled this list for the Earth Day service at church tomorrow. It started out as about 7-9 pages but I condensed it to 2 pages. Enjoy
One crop of hemp grown on one acre of land produces the same amount of pulpable fiber as one acre of 20 year old trees.
While the U.S. makes up only 5% of the world’s population, we produce 72% of all hazardous waste and consume 33% of the world’s paper.
The United States is responsible for almost 25% of the world’s total energy consumption. We use one million gallons of oil every two minutes.
Energy currently wasted by U.S. cars, homes and appliances equals more than twice the known energy reserves in Alaska and the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
We could cut our nation’s energy consumption in half by the year 2030 simply by using energy more efficiently and by using more renewable energy sources. In the process, we would promote economic growth by saving consumers $2.3 trillion and by producing one million new jobs.
When just 1% of America’s 140 million car owners tune up their cars, we eliminate nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide – the key cause of global warming – from entering the atmosphere.
Of the trash that we Americans throw away every day, 30% by weight is packaging alone. In 1993, we threw away 14 billion pounds of plastic packaging.
Running a refrigerator and freezer for one year can produce as much pollution as driving a car from Chicago to Las Vegas.
Every minute, 37,000 empty soft drink bottles are thrown away in the United States.
Every year we throw away 24 million tons of leaves and grass. Leaves alone account for 75% of our solid waste in the fall.
Every ton of recycled office paper saves 380 gallons of oil.
About 1% of U.S. landfill space is full of disposable diapers, which take 500 years to decompose.
By turning down your central heating thermostat one degree, fuel consumption is cut by as much as 10%.
Insulating your attic reduces the amount of energy loss in most houses by up to 20%.
Recycling one aluminum can saves an amount of energy equivalent to half that can filled with gasoline.
Every Sunday, more than 500,000 trees are used to produce the 88% of newspapers that are never recycled.
North Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
Every year some 45,000 tons of plastic waste are dumped into the world’s oceans. One of the results of this is that up to one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals are killed each year by plastic trash such as fishing gear, six-pack yokes, sandwich bags, and styrofoam cups.
Packaging accounts for 50 percent of all paper produced in North America, 90 percent of all glass, and eleven percent of aluminum.
The United States generates approximately 208 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) a year. That’s 4.3 pounds per person per day.(“Recycling and Buy Recycling Fact Sheets”, America Recyclers Day)
Every year we dispose of 24 million tons of leaves and grass clippings, which could be composted to conserve landfill space. (1996 Environmental Defense Fund)
Food waste includes leftover portions of meals and trimmings from food preparation activities in kitchens, restaurants and fast food chains, and cafeteria. Food waste is the third largest component of generated waste (after yard waste and corrugated boxes) and second largest component of discarded waste, after yard waste. The amount of food waste generated in the waste stream has increased by 1.2 million tons in the last 25 years, this is one of the lowest increases on a percentage basis of any component of the waste stream.
Paper cups consume trees, water, and chemicals, and dump them into streams and landfills- they are not re-cyclable. Paper cups are often wax-coated which reduces their bio-degradeability futher. Paper products make up over 40 percent by weight , slightly higher by volume – of this country’s municipal solid waste, by far the largest contributor. Paper Recycling and its role in Solid Waste Management. Every year nearly 900,000,000 trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills. (Business Stastistics, 1986)
The Earth’s limited supply of natural resources will only be able to sustain 2 billion humans by 2100, bad news for a world that already feeds 5.9 billion.
Farm animals consume nearly half the world’s cereal produce. Growing grain to feed animals to turn them into meat is an inefficient business- an acre of cereals can produce five times more protein than an acre devoted to meat production.
The United States makes up less than 5 percent of the total population on earth. Yet, we currently consume over 30 percent of all the resources.
If every gas-heated home were properly caulked and weather-stripped, enough natural gas would be saved each year to heat another 4 million homes.
Simple heavy drapes attached to windows with a valance could save about $10 per window in heating costs each winter.
Organic farming can save up to 50% of energy, according to studies. Using manure can save 80% of the energy consumed by using synthetic fertilizers.
The cost of one nuclear weapons test alone could finance the installation of eighty thousand hand pumps, giving third world villages access to clean water.
In the US, 41% of all insecticides are used on corn. Eighty per cent of these are used to treat a pest that could be controlled simply by rotating the corn for one year with any other crop.