Did You Know? Earth Day
Facts & Figures about Celebrating and Saving Mother Earth
Did you know that the first Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970? At the time, 20 million people got in on the celebration. In 2000, 500 million celebrated Earth Day. In 2009, over 1 billion people in 175 countries around the world will participate in Earth Day celebrations.
Did you know that the Earth's population has grown faster since 1950 than over the previous four million years combined? Today, there are 6.5 billion people living on the planet, with another 74 million people are added every year. Yet just two hundred years ago, there were barely 1 billion people on Planet Earth. The term "population explosion" seems like a ridiculous understatement.
Did you know that greenhouse gas emissions in the United States increased 75 percent between 1970 and 2005? A large part of the problem is the more the doubling of cars and trucks on the road during that same period. Vehicles account for more than half of our air pollution today, even though cars are 20 times more fuel-efficient than they were in the 1970s.
Did you know that the overall rate of recycling in the United States today stands at approximately 28%? That's double what it was a decade ago. By contrast, Austrians recycle fully 60% of their post-consumption waste products. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, has a recycling rate just above 17% and Greece pulls up the European Union rear with an abysmal 10%.
Did you know that recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt light bulb lit for four hours? Recycling glass uses 40% less energy than making new glass from virgin materials. Glass can be recycled indefinitely and never loses any of its quality.
Did you know that if everyone on Planet Earth lived the way Americans do, we would need 5.3 planets to sustain ourselves? Americans comprise just 5% of the Earth's population, but we produce over 40% of the world's waste. Do you know what your carbon footprint is? Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz to find out.
Did you know that Americans recycle 53.4% of the paper products we consume? Even still, Americans throw away an average of 600 pounds of paper per person every year. Recycling just one four foot stack of newspapers is enough to save one 40-foot fir tree.
Did you know that Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every single hour? Eight out of 10 of them will end up in a landfill, despite the fact that 63% of American communities now have plastic bottle recycling. It takes 700 years for a plastic bottle to begin to decompose in a landfill.
Did you know that Americans consume enough plastic film every year to shrink-wrap the state of Texas? Less than 10% of communities accept Saran wrap-type plastic for recycling.
Did you know that up to 1 trillion plastic bags are used in America every single year? That's one million bags per minute or 326 plastic bags per person per year. Less than 20% of those bags make it to a recycling center.
Did you know that Americans use well over 2 billion gallons of oil each year to produce its plastic bags? In 2001, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags and saw a 90% reduction in their consumption. San Francisco recently passed a ban on plastic bags.
Did you know that the process of bottling water is ironically water-intensive? It takes three liters of water to produce just one liter of bottled water. Americans drank 31.2 billion liters of bottled water last year.
Did you know that Americans recycle more than 65% of their aluminum containers? And yet, we still throw away enough beer and soda cans every three months to rebuild the entire U.S. commercial air fleet? Recycling aluminum is incredibly energy efficient -- it uses 5% of the energy that making a new can from virgin materials does.
Did you know that 100 acres of Amazon Rain Forest are being cut down every minute? Continued deforestation, combined with global warming, will lead to the irreversible destruction of up to 80% of the rain forest over the next 21 years. The loss of the Amazon will rapidly accelerate global warming in countries as far away as India.
Did you know that one in every four mammals faces the threat of extinction? The world has so far lost 68 animal species, including the "Dodo" bird, the Tasmanian wolf and the Caspian tiger. In fact, all great cats currently face mortal risk. Less than half a century ago, there were 100,000 tigers roaming our planet; today, fewer than 5,000 are still alive in the wild.
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