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How to Go Green
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The following statistics were found on select Internet sites:
* Fifty one percent of the freshwater animal species of the world are declining in number.
* A recent survey found one in four vertebrate species to be in sharp decline or facing serious pressure from human activities.
* One of every eight known plant species is threatened with extinction or is nearly extinct.
* One in ten tree species-some 8,750 of the 80,000 to 100,000 tree species known to science-are threatened with extinction.
* The overall rate of extinction is estimated to be 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than it would be naturally, and appears to be increasing. The last time such a mass extinction is believed to have occurred was 65 million years ago, when a dramatic shift in global climate patterns ended the age of the dinosaurs.
* Global forest cover is shrinking by 30 million acres a year. Causes include human-induced fires, agricultural expansion, logging, road-building, and exotic insect infestations.
* Vast destruction of the world's forests is contributing to the spread of the world's deserts, increasing the loss of biodiversity and hampering the ability of the Earth's atmosphere to cleanse itself.
* Some 58 percent of the world's coral reefs and one third of all fish species may be at risk from human activities.
* Fisheries are collapsing. About a quarter of stocks worldwide are currently depleted or in danger of depletion. Another 44 percent are being fished at their biological limit.
* Massive erosion-related to intensive farming practices and deforestation-is causing a rapid loss of topsoil and with it a potentially drastic drop in the ability to produce food for the world's people.
* In September of 1998, the BBC, citing data from NASA, reported the hole in the ozone over Antarctica had reached record proportions: 10 million square miles, roughly three times the size of Australia.
* 1998 was the hottest year recorded since record keeping began in the 1860s. According to scientific evidence, it was the hottest year in the past one thousand years. Seven of the ten warmest years recorded occurred between 1990 and 1999. The dominant view among scientists is that a significant portion of this warming is the result of industrial society's emission of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.
* The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.
* 99.5 percent of all fresh water on Earth is in icecaps and glaciers.
* Each gallon of gas used by a car contributes about 19 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. For a single car driving 1,000 miles a month, that adds up to 120 tons of CO2 a year.
* A single polystyrene (Styrofoam) cup contains one billion billion molecules of CFCs--that's 1,000,000,000,000,000,000.
* Once a CFC atom reaches the ozone layer, it can take over 100 years before it breaks up and becomes harmless.
* About 110 million Americans live in areas with levels of air pollutants the federal government considers to be harmful.
* Americans dump 16 tons of sewage into their waters--every minute of every day.
* Although water covers two-thirds of the surface of the Earth, all the fresh water in lakes, streams, and rivers represents only one-hundredth of the Earth's total water.
* Each year, 1 million sea birds, 100,000 marine mammals, and 50,000 fur seals are killed as the result of eating or being strangled in plastic.
* 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.
* Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year, and 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles every hour.
* Americans throw away enough glass bottles and jars to fill the 1,350-foot twin towers of New York's World Trade Center every two weeks.
* Americans throw away about 40 billion soft drink cans and bottles every year. Placed end to end, they would reach to the moon and back nearly 20 times.
* Eighty-four percent of a typical household's waste--including food scraps, yard waste, paper, cardboard, cans, and bottles--can be recycled.
* Using recycled paper for one print run of the Sunday edition of the New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
* If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25 million trees a year.
* Each year, 40 million acres of tropical rainforests--an area larger than the state of California--are destroyed through logging or burning.
* Only 10 percent of the 35,000 pesticides introduced since 1945 have been tested for their effects on people.
* It takes only one-twentieth as much raw materials to grow grains, fruits, and vegetables as it does to raise animals for meat.
* The typical American home uses about 300 gallons of water a day.
* A 1/32" leak in a faucet can waste up to 6,000 gallons of water a month, or 72,000 gallons a year.
* America's refrigerators use about 7 percent of the nation's total electricity consumption--the output of about 25 large power plants.
* By turning the heat down, Americans could save more than 500,000 barrels of oil each day--that's over 21,000,000 gallons.
* A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to two million gallons of fresh water.
* By the year 2000, U.S. businesses will need the equivalent of all the office space in Pittsburgh, PA, to store the paper it uses in just one year.
* Driving an average of 1,000 miles a month produces about 120 tons of carbon dioxide a year.
* If all the cars on U.S. roads had properly inflated tires, it would save nearly 2 billion gallons of gasoline a year.
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