Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Fast facts - consumption statistics

Here's some fast facts on consumption you can bounce off folks to at least get them thinking.

* Half the world lives on less than two dollars a day - source: GlobalWatch.

* 12 percent of the world’s population lives in North America and Western Europe and accounts for 60 percent of private consumption spending, but a third of humanity that lives in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 3.2 percent. WorldWatch Institute

* In 1950, the global population was 2.6 billion people. We had 53 million cars- which works out to be one car for every 50 persons. Today, there are 6 billion people and 500 million cars-more than one car for every dozen inhabitants. Sierra Club (lots of fascinating facts on that page)

* If the Chinese consume resources in 2031 at a level that Americans do now, grain consumption per person there would climb from around 600 pounds today to around 2000 pounds needed to sustain a typical western diet. This would equate to 1,352 million tons of grain, equal to two thirds of all the grain harvested in the world in 2004. OneWorld

* In 1950, Americans consumed 144 pounds of meat and poultry per person on average. In 2007, that's projected to shoot up to 222 pounds. Factory Farming Campaign.

* Global oil production is currently about 81 million barrels a day and is predicted to fall to 39 million barrels a day by 2030 due to diminishing resources (see Peak oil). Source: Energy Watch Group via Guardian

* In 2003, gasoline consumption per capita in North America was 1,593.1 litres per person, wheras in developing countries it was 59.2 litres per person. World Resources Institute.

* Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in November of 1958 were at 313.34 parts per million. In November of 2007, levels were at 382.35 parts per million, an increase of over 20%.

* Industrialized nations, representing only 20% of the world's population, consume 87 percent of the world’s printing and writing papers and global production in the pulp, paper and publishing sector is expected to increase by 77% from 1995 to 2020. The pulp and paper industry is the single largest consumer of water used in industrial activities in OECD countries and is the third greatest industrial greenhouse gas emitter, after the chemical and steel industries. Co-op America

* The average American buys 53 times as many products as someone in China and one American's consumption of resources is equal valent to that of 35 Indians. Over a lifetime, the typical American will create 13 times as much environmental damage as the average Brazilian. Sierra Club via CNN

* South Australia is the driest state in the driest continent in the world, yet our water consumption is 445 litres per day per person (2001/2002) according to Environment SA. China's per capita consumption in the same year was 219 litres according to

* The world's annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today. WasteOnline

* The USA's electricity consumption per capita is 12,343.098 kWh per year and 71.4 % of that electricity is generated via fossil fuel. Australia's consumption is 10,252.432 kWh per capita, with 90.8 % fossil fuel dependent. German consumption is 6,366.428 kWh per capita with only 61.8 % of that fossil fuel generation dependent. NationMaster

* Between 2000 and 2005 around 10 million acres of forests were lost per year in South America, which incorporates the might Amazon forest. The land is cleared primarily for cattle ranches and soybean plantations. Only 20 - 25% of Brazilian soybeans are used domestically; most is exported overseas for use in food, textiles and increasingly - cattle feed. Choices Magazine and Monga Bay

* The food we eat now typically travels between 1,500 and 3,000 miles from farm to our dinner plate. The distance had increased by up to 25 percent between 1980 and 2001. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University

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