Why Conserve?

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Economic and Natural Consequences
Quotes
Personal Consumption
Business Consumption
Assorted

ECONOMIC AND NATURAL CONSEQUENCES

If everyone on the planet consumed as much as Americans, we would need 4 planet Earths to support the total amount of consumption.
Union of Concerned Scientists [UCS] Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions


More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.
Time Magazine, Feeling the Heat, David Bjerkpe, March 26, 2006


Temperatures are estimated to rise from 6 - 10 degrees and precipitation will increase from 10 to 30% in New England over the next 100 years. This will be the greatest change in climate over the past 10,000 years and the New England climate will resemble that of present day Virginia to Georgia.
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
Morse Hall, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824-3525
The UCS also published a similar report


Even moderate additional greenhouse emissions are likely to push Earth past critical tipping points with dangerous consequences for the planet. With just 10 more years of "business as usual" emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas it becomes impractical to avoid "disastrous effects."
NASA and the Columbia University Earth Institute as reported by ABC News


Global warming may cost the world as much as $9.6 trillion by the next century because of the effects of famine, rising sea levels, storms and other environmental damage.
U. K. government study


Climate change is responsible for at least 150,000 extra deaths a year - a figure that will double by 2030.
The World Health Organization as reported in Time Magazine


"The Indo-Pacific region, home to 75 percent of the world's coral reefs, has lost nearly 600 square miles of reef each year since the late 1960s... We have already lost half of the world's reef-building corals. We can do a far better job of developing technologies and implementing smart policies that will offset climate change."
John Bruno, University of North Carolina as reported by the BBC.


There will be more frequent and longer heat waves of the sort that contributed to the death of at least 20,000 Europeans in August 2003.
As reported in Time Magazine


If the massive ice sheets over Antarctica and Greenland both melted completely, sea levels could rise nearly 220 ft. (72 m). That's a worst-case scenario. But the melting is accelerating, and sea levels are projected to rise gradually, threatening low-lying communities.
Sources: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Third Assessment Report; NOAA; NASA; National Snow and Ice Data Center; Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center; National Center for Atmospheric Research; U.S. Global Change Research Program; Goddard Institute for Space Studies


Thirteen of the 20 largest cities in the world are located at sea level.
Dr. Cindy Parker of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md.


Approximately 40 football fields of tropical forests are cleared each minute. This is putting thousands of species at risk of becoming extinct as well as contributing to climate change.
Union of Concerned Scientists Earthwise Volume 9, Number 3


The population of bird species are down by 70% in Massachusetts since 1967. The cause of this decline is attributed to habitat loss and climate change.
A 2007 report from the Massachusetts Audubon Society



Greenland's two-mile-thick ice sheet is melting at a rate unforeseen to scientists and climate models. Chunks of ice breaking off are so huge that they're triggering earthquakes; the glaciers are adding some 58 trillion gallons of water annually to the oceans, more than twice as much as they were 10 years ago. In total, Greenland's ice holds enough water to raise global sea levels by a 23 feet.
As reported by The Independent.


QUOTES


"First, I worry about climate change. It's the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it, and make a lot of the other efforts that we're making irrelevant and impossible."
Bill Clinton


"The science is in. The facts are there that we have created, man has, a self-inflicted wound that man has created through global warming."
Arnold Schwarzenegger


"Today, the time for doubt has passed,... the scientists have very clearly outlined the severity of the problem, failure to act will bring devastating consequences. Inaction now will prove the costliest action of all in the long term.
Secretary General of the U.N. Ban Ki-moon


"So today we dumped another seventy million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of the atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow we will dump a slightly larger amount."

Al Gore, from his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize


"If we don't do something, by 2050, all the polar bears will be gone. That's where Santa Claus lives, man. That's a bummer."
Nate Tyler, campaigner for Lights Out San Francisco


"The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences."
Al Gore


"Climate change is a global challenge that demands a global response. Yet there are nations that resist, voices that attempt to diminish the urgency or dismiss the science, or declare, either in word or indifference, that this is not our problem to solve. Well, let me tell you, it is our problem to solve... To the reticent nations, including the United States, I say this: There is such a thing as a global conscience."
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, quoted in the L. A. Times


PERSONAL CONSUMPTION

In the United States, two million plastic bottles are used every five minutes, 1.14 million paper grocery bags are used every hour and approximately a half million cell phones are retired every day.

See a video by Chris Jordan showing the impact. The statistics are from a TerraPass blog post about Chris Jordan's work.

Every baby born in the U.S. leads to an average lifetime production of 1 million kilograms of atmospheric wastes, 10 million kilograms of liquid wastes, one million kilograms of solid wastes and consume 700 kilograms of minerals and 24 billion BTU's of energy.
1994 article by the College of Environmental Science and Forestry of the State University of New York [From the Union of Concerned Scientists book A Consumers Guide to Effective Environmental Choices]

The average American discards approximately 1 ton of trash a year, 2 to 3 times the amount a typical European throws away.
From the Union of Concerned Scientists book A Consumers Guide to Effective Environmental Choices


The average American uses twice as much fossil fuel as the average resident of Great Britain and consumes 3.25 pounds of meat 1.5 times as much as the average Briton.
From the Union of Concerned Scientists book A Consumers Guide to Effective Environmental Choices


The average American uses more than 748 pounds of paper per year.
American Forest and Paper Association



BUSINESS CONSUMPTION


Approximately 68 million trees are consumed each year to produce the catalogs and junk mail Americans receive annually, yet nearly half of this mail is thrown out unopened.
AIGA: Print Design and Environmental Responsibility


Paper manufacturing is the third largest use of fossil fuels worldwide and the single largest industrial use of water per pound of finished product.
AIGA: Print Design and Environmental Responsibility


Waste paper is America’s single largest export by weight.
AIGA: Print Design and Environmental Responsibility


Discarded packaging represents over 30 percent of the soil waste buried in U.S. landfills each year.
AIGA: Print Design and Environmental Responsibility


Approximately 5% of the resources used to produce a product are contained in the final product. The other 95% has been discarded during the production process
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things - By William McDonough & Michael Braungart, North Point Press, 2002


 

ASSORTED


The Northeast region of the U.S. is the 6 largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet.
Union of Concerned Scientists: Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions


The average meal in US travels 1,500 miles to get to your plate.
CUESA, The Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture


The livestock business spews more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined, animal-rights groups say greens aren't stressing the point enough. "Environmentalists are still pointing their fingers at Hummers and SUV's when they should be pointing at the dinner plate."
As reported on Grist and the New York Times


A typical curbside recycling program that collects steel and aluminum containers, newspapers, glass and certain kinds of plastic will eliminate, for every ton of waste processed, 620 pounds of carbon dioxide, 30 pounds of methane, 5 pounds of carbon monoxide, 2.5 pounds of particulate matter, [soot and ash], and varying amounts of other pollutants. Furthermore, it takes less than 25% as much energy to make aluminum cans from recycled cans as from virgin ore.
Roger W. Powers, "Curbside Recycling: Energy and Environmental Considerations" Solid Waste Technologies September 1995


Glaciers in Greenland are sliding into the sea almost twice as fast as expected.
As reported in the Journal Science in 2006.

Ask Henry

Have a low impact living question? Want to reduce your carbon footprint?

Why Conserve?

"Around the world, there has been a three-fold increase in extreme weather events over the past three decades."

From company, Munich Re via the Boston Globe

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