This post is dedicated to the upcoming World Environment.
World Environment Day, June 5th, was designated by the United Nations. This year’s theme is:
A great theme! It encourages us to step back and evaluate our consumption habits. Ultimately, there needs to be responsible management of the earth’s resources. Natural resources are finite, and our needs and wants infinite. Thus, the need for harmony among humanity, the environment and our economy- all of which are connected.
It is thought that,
“By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption.” (UNEP)
Ultimately, the goal is for us to live sustainably, and being conscientious of our consumption habits.
Our three main areas of consumption are water, food and energy. Below are some stats on the usage and consumption of these resources.
-Less than 3% of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable), of which 2.5% is frozen in the Antarctica, Arctic and glaciers. Humanity must therefore rely on 0.5% for all of man’s ecosystem’s and fresh water needs. (UNEP)
-More than 1 billion people still do not have access to fresh water. (UNEP)
-Approximately 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef. (Meatless Monday)
-Approximately 39 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of vegetables. (Meatless Monday)
-As much as 50% of all food produced in the world ends up as waste every year according to figures from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
-The IME estimate that 30-50% (1.2-2bn tonnes) of all food produced is “lost before reaching a human stomach”.
-1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year while almost 1 billion people go undernourished and another 1 billion hungry. (UNEP)
-The food sector accounts for around 30% of the world’s total energy consumption and accounts for around 22% of total Greenhouse Gas emissions. (UNEP)
-Households consume 29% of global energy and consequently contribute to 21% of resultant CO2 emissions.The cost of renewable energy is increasingly competitive with that derived from fossil fuels. One-fifth of the world’s final energy consumption in 2013 was from renewables. (UNEP)
-In the US, electricity plants use more than 900 million short tons of coal to produce 40% of America’s electricity every year. (Do Something)
-With the energy efficiency America is striving for, the US carbon dioxide emissions would decrease by 4 billion metric tons. (Do Something)
Other Interesting Facts (Below are stats from the National Wildlife Federation)
-Each year, 35 million cell phones are disposed of.
-Paper can account for as much as 60 percent of school waste.
-Manufacturing one ton of office paper with recycled paper stock can save between 3,000 and 4,000 kilowatt hours over the same ton made with virgin wood products.
-Recycling steel and tin cans saves 60 – 74 percent of the energy used to produce them from raw materials.
-Producing glass from crushed, used glass requires 30 percent less energy than producing it from new materials.
-Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds as much energy as manufacturing it from new raw materials.
-Recycling one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for three hours, or a TV for two hours.
Sorry for the long winded list of stats and facts. I found these stats and facts interesting and they help put our consumption habits into perspective. For instance, recycling makes a tremendous impact on reducing our consumption of energy, as well as benefiting the environment.
Here is a great video discussing more about this year’s theme for World Environment Day, by the UNEP.
Happy World Environment Day!
Feel free to share your ideas on how you will be celebrating World Environment Day and ways you will consume with care to help protect the environment.
with love, from one tree hugger to another, xo