Research Sites Behind Many Earth Facts for Earth Day 2010
To honor Earth Day’s 40th birthday, we did a 40 day countdown of Earth Facts on Twitter. Some of the facts had a number of sources and we thought you may enjoy reading more. We hope you find them thought-provoking enough to begin a dialog. Our goal is to promote sustainability and hope you will help us by spreading the word.
- Humans appeared 200,000 yrs ago & now we change earth’s surface faster than natural processes
- The Earth’s surface is 29% land and 71% water; of the water only 3% is fresh, the rest is salt water
- Glaciers contain two thirds of Earth’s fresh water; most of the rest is underground. Only 0.3% is liquid surface water.
- Russia’s Lake Baikal is the most voluminous lake with 20% of the Earth's surface fresh water.
- Two locations contain 40% of the Earth’s fresh surface water: Lake Baikal & North America’s Great Lakes
- Agriculture uses 70% of our fresh water; rice uses the most water per acre, cotton uses half of what rice uses.
- It takes 37 gallons of water to produce one cup of coffee from the field to the cup in your hand.
- The average American uses 100 gallons of water daily; the rest of the world averages 23 gallons.
- Some estimate by 2025, up to 50% of the world’s population could face fresh water shortages
- Every second, 1.5 acres of rain forest (along with its oxygen and carbon processing values) are lost.
- At the current rate of deforestation, all rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
- The US consumes 456 gallons of gasoline per capita per year or 138.7 billion gallons of gasoline per year.
- There are 1279 federal Superfund sites (contaminated land) that need cleanup; see New Bedford Harbor project at www.bioengineering.com
- Over 500 living species have become extinct in North America since the Pilgrims landed in 1620.
- 34 of the 1,300 US species protected under Endangered Species Act (ESA) have come off the list since 1973.
- High numbers of animal species on ESA list: 22 turtles, 9 wolves, 8 whales, 7 tortoises and 5 bears
- Due to plastic in the Pacific Gyre, The Great Garbage Patch has 3.5 million tons of floating trash. Some think it is as big as the state of Texas.
- In 2008, the United States’ wind power capacity became the largest in the world, followed by Germany and then Spain.
- In 2009, wind farms generated just 1.7% of the electricity in the United States. That was enough to power 6.6 million homes.
- In the United States, power generation is the #1 contributor to air pollution; sulfur dioxide is the #1 pollutant.
- Sustainability is using or harvesting resources without depleting or permanently damaging them.
- Our planet is a finite system demanding healthy ecosystems, renewable energy and recycled materials.
- Every dollar you spend, from shopping to public projects, can transact sustainability.
We can all do our part to promote sustainability and restore our environment. Let’s start right now!