I was catching up on old (not too old) issues of Newsweek over the weekend and found some information that I found very interesting. As we all know, Earth Day was April 22. What I didn't know was that Earth Day has been around since 1970 (the same year as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency). Newsweek (April 26, 2010, issue) made some comparisons between 1970 and 2010 as far as progress, and came up with quite a few statistics, these were the three that stood out for me. The last one here I plan on looking into for a future post (very soon):
Between the 1970s and 1980s, ozone-depleting gases in the atmosphere more than doubled. Thanks to a global treaty, levels have since been declining and the ozone layer is recovering—although it won't return to its pre-1980 state until midcentury.
Americans generated 250 million tons of trash in 2008, or about 38 percent more per person than in 1970. Our recycling rate has increased five-fold, yet 47 percent more trash ended up in landfills or incinerated in 2008 than in 1970.
Energy use per person in the U.S. has hardly changed since 1970, despite substantial increases in the energy efficiency of homes and appliances. U.S. energy use per person is twice that of France and Germany. [emphasis added]