Conservation Is Not Enough
Compiled by Michael G. Hanauer
February 5, 2001
- The United States creates approximately 80% of the world's waste.
- To provide for expanding population (.8%), 5.6m kilowatts at $18b needed per year.
- A US child consumes 30-40 times the natural resources of a child in the developing world.
- "Despite 20 years of federally mandated auto-emission controls, tailpipe pollution has continued to rise because there are more cars and thus more traffic on the road".
- Per capita consumption is up 45%, quality of life index is down by 51% over 20 years
- 1990 per capita garbage = 4.1 pounds/day; 1960 = 1.6 pounds less with 100m fewer people
- Even if industrial nations cut CO2 emissions by 65%, in 30 years increasing population will create a net increase of 300%.
- Growth rate of CO2 to world population over last 25 years correlate to 99.89%.
- Total energy use has increased an average of 1.1% (oil 1%) each year since 1970 (same rate as population).
- 93% of US energy use increase (22%) since 1970 can be attributed to population growth. [Prof. John Holden, Chair, Energy and Resource Group, U.Calif. Berkeley.]
- 43% lower per cap. energy use by 2030 poss, but expect 12% total increase due to added pop.
- Humans have increased in numbers by 50% over 20 years ago. We now take twice the energy and material and deposit twice the pollution and waste. [Donella Meadows interview]
- Better economic conditions can cause increase in fertility (eg 1950s) [Virginia Abernethy].
- United States, with 5 percent of world population:
- Produces 72% of all hazardous waster and consumes 33% of the world's paper.
- Produces 21% of CO2 (40,000 pounds per person per year).
- Burns 25% of world's fossil fuels. [Ehrlich article]
- Has 33% of the world's autos, 50% miles driven.
- Uses 25% of world's energy = 1/2 million gallons of oil per minute. = 3 Japanese, 6 Mexicans, 12 Chinese, 33 Indians, 147 Bangladeshis, 422 Ethiopians.
- Industrialized (developed) world (24 countries with 23% of world population):
- Consumes 2/3 of all resources, produces 3/4 of all pollutants and wastes
- Consumes 80% of commercial fuel, 85% of commercial timber,
- Cons. 81% of world paper, 80% of iron and steel, 86% of aluminum, 75% of energy, 61% of meat
- Consumes 75% of world's metals. Has 85% of world's GNP.
- Produces 83% of world's CFCs (ozone depletion)
- Produces 90% of the 360m metric tons of hazardous waste produced each year, 70% of CO2
- From 1973-1988, gas per mile down 29%, number cars up 58%, gas consumption up 17% (Winter 1994)
- Population growth accounted for 40% of the increase since 1960 in carbon dioxide emissions (Winter 1994)
This material is copyrighted, © 1996 Michael G. Hanauer. Reproduction, distribution and use of this document for non-profit, non-commercial use without permission is highly encouraged. The above compilation is an excerpt of an extensive series of statistics and facts. The complete compilation is available at http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~jtownsen/zpg-boston/zappers.html.
Related Internal Links
Letter to my Unborn Child - by Alma Hromic
Biocracy - by Michael W. Stowell
The Resource Base - by Milo Clark
A Reformist View: Business as if the Earth Matters - by Joe Kresse
The Imperial Conservation Crusade - by Gilles d'Aymery
Mesmerized by the Weapons Mystique - by Mac Lawrence (Posted in July 1997, this piece demonstrates once more that we are not learning from the past. At a time when we are again increasing the U.S. military budget, this piece documents how immensely bloated this budget already is.)
The Wilderness Into Which Crying is Silent - by Milo Clark (Posted in September 1996, this piece shows the hypocrisy of conservation efforts through "responsible tourism.")
Do as I say... - by Gilles d'Aymery (Posted in May 1996, this piece shows with some humor the insanities and contradictions of our consumerist policies.)
It's Spring: Time to Drive - by Gilles d'Aymery (Posted in May 1997, this short piece shows the inanity of producing ever more vehicles.)
News Watch - by Gilles d'Aymery (Posted in December 1997, the first paragraph provides a few notes about Global Warming, in particular emission of carbon-dioxide by various countries.)
Useful Guide to Understanding Where All That Stuff Comes From - by Donella Meadows (Posted in April 1998, this book review shows the behind-the-scene of consumption. For instance, you'll learn that the manufacturing of your 55-pound computer generated 139 pounds of waste and used 7,300 gallons of water and 2,300 kilowatt-hours of energy.)
Adam Smith is on Our Side - By Milo Clark (Posted in May 1996, this piece on Adam Smith is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding how incorrectly Smith is depicted in the main media.)
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Published February 5, 2001