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Glaciers are already melting due to global warming. Glaciers are already melting due to global warming.

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Convenient Truths: Because the facts say so


  1. Only three percent of the water on Earth is freshwater, and about 70% of this is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps.   Only about 0.01% of the water on Earth is not frozen or underground, and instead in lakes, rivers and wetlands. (Environment Canada)
  2. The largest river in the world, the Amazon, has a drainage area equal to 70% of the size of the United States.
  3. Humans have built at least 45 000 large dams as a response to meet an energy or water need. Today nearly half of the world's rivers have at least one large dam. (Report of the World Commission on Dams)
  4. Half the world's large dams were built exclusively or primarily for irrigation, and some 30-40% of the 271 million hectares irrigated worldwide rely on dams. (Report of the World Commission on Dams)
  5. At 479 billion cubic meters, the total volume of water used annually in the United States could fill the Grand Canyon more than ten times. (EarthTrends Data Tables, WRI)
  6. Water scarcity and land degradation are already severe enough to reduce yields on about 16 percent of agricultural lands, including many croplands in Africa and Central America and pastures in Africa. (EarthTrends Feartures, WRI)
  7. Worldwide, three to six times as much water is held in reservoirs as in natural rivers. (Millennium Assessment, WRI)
  8. Worldwide, 1.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. (EarthTrends Database, WRI))
  9. In developing countries, 70 percent of industrial wastes is dumped untreated into surface water. (Millennium Assessment, WRI)


  1. It takes 24 trees to produce a ton of printing and writing paper. (Conservatree)
  2. 1 ream of paper takes approximately 6% of a tree. (Conservatree)
  3. Global timber harvests have increased by 60% since 1960. (Millenium Assessment, WRI)
  4. The number of major wildfires increased significantly on all continents over the past 60 years: more than 14 times in Asia, 16 times in Europe, and 32 times in the Americas. (Millennium Assessment, WRI)


  1. Atmospheric concentrations of methane have increased by about 150 percent from pre-industrial levels (since 1750).  (IPCC TAR, Technical Summary, WRI)
  2. Sulfur dioxide emissions in China increased by 35 % between 1990 and 2000. Sulfur dioxide is a primary contributor to acid rain. (EarthTrends Database, WRI)
  3. The United States accounts for less than 5% of the world's population and around 25% of global carbon emissions. (EarthTrends Data Tables, WRI)


  1. As of September 2008, the world's population is estimated to be about 6.7 billion. (WorldOMeters)
  2. It took thousands of years for world population to reach one billion people in approximately 1800.  The second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in less than 30 years (1959), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987). (WorldOMeters)
  3. It has been been estimated that approximately 106 billion people have been born since the dawn of the human race, making the population currently alive roughly 6% of all people who have ever lived on planet Earth. (WorldOMeters)
  4. In 1800, only two percent of the world population lived in cities, and not more than fifty cities had populations exceeding one hundred thousand.  Today, approximately half of the world's population lives in cities, and the largest 50 cities are all larger than 5 million people. (UN WUF, CityMayorsStatistics)


  1. Between 50 and 75 percent of annual resource inputs to industrial economies are returned to the environment as wastes within a year. (EArthTrends Features, WRI)
  2. Over much of the world, the mass of commercially viable and incidentally caught fish has been reduced to 10 percent of pre-industrial levels. (Millennium Assessment, WRI)
  3. Average annual meat consumption in China has increased from 3.8 to 52.4 kilograms per person since 1961. (EarthTrends Database, WRI)
  4. On average, residents of high income countries consume more than 90 kilograms (200 pounds) of meat a year, more than ten times the average for low income countries. (EarthTrends Database, WRI)
  5. In the past 40 years, water use has doubled, food production has increased by roughly two and a half times, and wood harvests for pulp and paper production have tripled worldwide. (Millennium Assessment, WRI)
  6. The number of landfills in the United States today is approximately 10,000.


  1. In 2008, 80% of the world's primary energy supply was from fossil fuels.
  2. In 2007, China was building about 2 new power plants a week.
  3. The US consumes 25% of the world's energy, but has only 5% of the world population.
  4. Renewable resources account for more than 93 percent of total U.S. energy reserves. (US Department of Energy)


  1. There are over 500 million cars in the world. (Worldwatch Institute)
  2. In high income countries, there is one passenger car for every two residents; in low income countries, there is approximately one passenger car for every 100 residents. (EarthTrends Database, WRI)
  3. Car accidents kill 1.2 million people worldwide each year, and injure about forty times this number. (World Health Organization)

Human Development:

  1. Worldwide, nineteen percent of all coastline areas has been altered by human development. (Earthtrends, WRI)
  2. The construction of dams and other structures has affected flows in 60 percent of the large river systems of the world. (Earthtrends Features, WRI)
  3. About six percent of the world's land area is protected by governments as: strict nature reserves, wilderness areas, national parks, national monuments, species management areas, or protected landscapes. (EarthTrends Database, WRI)


  1. About 11% of the world's land area is used to grow agricultural crops.
  2. Globally, between one and two percent of all farmland is either fully converted to organic agriculture or in the process of conversion. (EarthTrends Database, WRI)
  3. In North America, chickens outnumber people by more than six to one. (ET, WRI)
  4. It takes 10 times more energy to produce a pound of beef as it does a pound of grains
  5. An average person going vegetarian has the same impact as a person trading in their car for a hybrid.


  1. After land use change, climate change will be the second biggest factor to affect biodiversity in the 21st century. (EarthTrends Features, WRI)
  2. More than one quarter of important commercial fish stocks are overharvested. (Millennium Assessment, WRI)
  3. Since 1700, the rate of species extinctions worldwide has increased one thousand-fold. (Millennium Assessment, WRI)
  4. Coral reefs are the most biodiverse places on Earth. Increasing stresses have caused the destruction of 20% of the world's reefs in the past few decades. (Millennium Assessment, WRI)
Submitted by SuperGreenMe on Sep 21, 2008