Sustainability Facts to Make Every Day Earth Day
This is our future.
Sustainability Facts to Make Every Day Earth Day
Human beings are strange. We've purposefully soiled and polluted our own home, and now we're having trouble picking up the mess.
But we're also striving to do better. From renewable energy to massive cleanup campaigns, we're working to create a more sustainable future.
Celebrate Earth Day (which, really, is any day since we live on planet Earth) with these sustainability facts by the numbers.
Puerto Rico Leads the World in Solar Power
According to a Dewesoft report, Puerto Rico produces more solar power than any other country or territory.
America Has a Big Trash Problem
The United States throws away more trash than any other country, generating around 40 percent of the total waste in the world.
A Reason to Get Reusable Bags
On average, we use a plastic bag for 12 minutes before throwing it away. Even when the bag decomposes it often breaks into harmful microplastics, which get into the food chain and water supplies.
An Easy Way to Be Green
You could reduce your energy consumption when washing clothes simply by using cold water instead of warm water.
Cold water is also less damaging to clothes, so it's a win-win.
Deforestation Is a Devastating Issue
Rainforests play an important role in keeping climate change at bay by absorbing carbon monoxide (CO2) and releasing oxygen.
This Is Why Recycling Is Important
It also saves 2,584 liters of petroleum and 2.5 cubic meters of space in landfills.
Iceland Uses its Waterfalls Wisely
Iceland is blessed with thousands of waterfalls, many of which it uses — along with rivers — to produce hydroelectricity.
The island is the number one producer of hydroelectricity in the world.
A New Perspective on CO2
For perspective, the average British citizen emits 10 tons of CO2 per year. This amount of energy could power a single lightbulb for 100 years.
A Shocking Fact About Electricity
In 2018 — 143 years after the modern lightbulb was invented — almost 790 million people around the world lacked reliable access to electricity.
What's Really at Risk
There are an estimated 8 million species of animals and plants on the planet. Out of that number, 12.5 percent are endangered.
A Fact to Contradict Popular Belief
Using an automatic dishwasher saves about six gallons of water per cycle as opposed to doing the dishes by hand.
Throwing Food Away Is a Costly Mistake
The United Nations estimates that 2.8 billion pounds (1.3 metric tons) of food end up in landfills every year. This is one-third of all food produced and represents a monetary loss of $1 trillion.
Recycling Is Important to the Economy
Millions of people have jobs pertaining to recycling, remanufacturing and reusing materials.
Fast Fashion Is a Problem
Though most clothes can be reused or recycled, most items are simply thrown away. This problem has gotten worse because of fast fashion and ultra-fast fashion.
Renewable Energy Is Cheaper Than Ever
In the past 10 years, advances in technology and higher investment have made solar energy 89 percent cheaper.
Remote Workers Are Helping the Planet
By not commuting every day, remote workers lower greenhouse gas emissions. Their contribution is equivalent to taking 600,000 cars off the road every year.
The Problem With Flying
Just a round-trip flight from New York to London emits 7,495 pounds (3.4 metric tons) of carbon dioxide.
A Small Country Making a Big Change
Denmark earns the top spot as the country producing the most amount of energy with wind farms.
Be Conscious of Your Water Consumption
Taking quick showers can help save hundreds of gallons of water over a year.
Love long showers? Place a bucket in the shower and use the water collected to clean the patio, wash your car or flush the toilet.
Let's Just Say We Drink a Ton of Soda and Beer
The good news is that aluminum can be infinitely recycled, so placing cans in the proper trash can can help save a significant amount of resources.
The Danger of Plastic Waste
Marine animals often confuse plastic waste for food. When they ingest it, they can choke or lose the ability to consume food, dying painful deaths.
The Power of Collective Action
In 2015, Afroz Shah and Harbansh Mother began picking up trash from the waste-choked Versova Beach in Mumbai. Their actions began a grassroots movement that cleaned up over 26,455,471 pounds (12,000 tonnes) of waste from the beach in what is considered the largest beach cleanup in the world.
After two years of cleaning, sea turtles came back to the beach to hatch.
Reforestation Is Making a Difference
Though deforestation continues to be a significant environmental issue, reforestation campaigns are becoming increasingly popular.
One of the Most Polluted Places on Earth
The biggest issue with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is that much of the pollution has already broken down into microplastics, so it is difficult to clean it up without endangering marine life.
Paper Can't Be Recycled Infinitely
After six times, the paper becomes too weak to be used for new material. Still, this is a much better use of resources than using virgin material each time.
Blame It on Picnics and Gas Station Food
Most places in the United States do not recycle styrofoam. The trillions of cups used and thrown away each year end up in landfills or the ocean.
Some Good News
Scientists first discovered a hole in the ozone layer in 1985. By the early 2010s, 197 countries had banned chlorofluorocarbons, the chemicals deemed responsible for deteriorating the protective layer.
The United Nations estimates that the layer will be completely healed by 2069.
A Silent Killer
Though life expectancy is increasing overall, the average human still loses one to two years of life because of air pollution's detrimental health effects.
Over Five Decades of Activism
It was started by Sen. Gaylord Nelson in California and became an international day in the 1990s.