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Archive for July 27th, 2008

Image created by Ilya Katz.

In the Metro the other day I saw a statistic that really caught my attention: Americans consume 38 billion plastic bottles of water a year, produced from 3 billion tons of plastic. Ugh. Can we go turn on the tap, please?!? Buy a Brita if you’re worried, but enough with the bottled water already! (It takes 450 years for one of those plastic bottles to biodegrade).

Naturally enough, this got me to snooping around on this swampy, rainy Sunday afternoon. I found a few things that helped underscore that we really need to rethink our patterns of consumption.

From the U.N. Development Programme comes this:

“Globally, the 20% of the world’s people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures.” (1.3 billion of the planet’s 6.6 billion people consume 86% of everything).

The UNDP then offers the following statistics: this 20% consumes 45% of all meat and fish, 58% of all energy, 84% of all paper, and owns 87% of all vehicles.

Not so good.

And while I was scanning statistics, here’s another one that caught my eye: in terms of passenger rail use, the U.S. ranks 73rd in the world.

Our work stands before us.

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