Sun Report

40 Environmental Facts

In celebration of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, we’ve list 40 interesting and alarming environmental facts.  We’ve posted these facts every day for the past 40 days – thanks for listening and sharing with others!

  1. Approximately 20 million people across the United States celebrated the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970. Today, more than 1 billion people around the world take part in the event.
  2. In 1995 over 200 of the world landfills were full.
  3. Each person throws away approximately 4 pounds of garbage per day.
  4. Approximately 5 million tons of oil produced in the world each year ends up in the ocean.
  5. The energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a traditional light bulb for four hours
  6. In, 1931, Albert Einstein, collected a Nobel Prize for is work in solar and photovoltaic experimentation.
  7. Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees, 2 barrels of oil, 4,100 kilowatts of energy, 3.2 cubic yards of landfill space and 60 pounds of air pollution.
  8. 14 billion pounds of trash is dumped into the ocean every year
  9. 84% of all household waste can be recycled
  10. More than 1/3 of all energy is used by people at home
  11. Most families throw away about 88 pounds of plastic every year
  12. Everyday in the United States, we produce enough trash to equal the weight of the Empire State Building
  13. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a swirling vortex of waste and debris in the Pacific Ocean.  This area is twice the size of the continental US and is believed to hold almost 100 million tons of garbage.
  14. The human population has grown more in the last 50 years than it did in the previous 4 million years
  15. John Herschel, a British astronomer, converted solar power by using a solar collector box to cook food while on an African expedition, in 1830.
  16. In some elementary schools, after Halloween and Christmas, Earth Day is the third largest celebrated holiday
  17. One in four mammals is at risk of extinction – 78% of marine mammals are threatened by accidental deaths such as getting caught in fishing nets intended for other species.
  18. At least 50 million acres of rainforest are lost every year, totaling an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined.
  19. Average temperatures will increase by as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at the current pace.
  20. If the entire world lived like the average American, we’d need 5 planets to provide enough resources.
  21. A world record was set in 1990 when a solar powered aircraft flew 4060km across the USA, using no fuel.
  22. In one hour more sunlight falls on the earth than what is used by the entire population in one year.
  23. April 22 is the first official day of Spring in the Northern hemisphere and of Fall in the Southern hemisphere and was chosen to be Earth Day for this reason
  24. More than 20,000,000 Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of tinfoil. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.
  25. Only 11% of the earth’s surface is used to grow food.
  26. If every newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year. Unfortunately only 27% of all American newspapers are recycled.
  27. A highlight of the annual Earth Day ceremony at the United Nations is the ringing of the Peace Bell that was given to the UN by Japan. It is made from coins given by school children to further peace on our planet.
  28. By using renewable energy sources to provide your daily energy needs we can decease CO2 emissions with 20,000 pounds less of carbon dioxide each year, including 50 pounds of nitrogen oxide less, and 70 pounds of  less sulfur dioxide omitted into our atmosphere.
  29. Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every 3 months.
  30. The U.S. is 5% of the world’s population but uses 25% of its natural resources.  We use one million gallons of oil every two minutes.
  31. More than 100 million Americans live in urban areas where the air is officially classified by the EPA as unsafe to breathe.
  32. The US has less than 4% of its forests left.
  33. 40% of our waterways are undrinkable.
  34. 200,000 people a day are moving to cities from environments that no longer support them.
  35. According to the National Academy of Sciences, on average there are 27 oil spills every day somewhere in the waters of the worlds
  36. Residential lawns and gardens are doused with 80 million pounds of chemical pesticides and 70 million tons of fertilizers annually.
  37. It would cost about $13 billion annually to satisfy the world’s basic sanitation and food requirements. That’s roughly equivalent to what Americans and Europeans spend on perfume and cologne every year.
  38. Each year Americans alone throw away 18 billion disposable diapers.  In perspective, this is enough to extend from the earth to the moon and back 7 times.
  39. Ford Motor Company indicates that 75% of every vehicle is recyclable.
  40. In 1 year, the earth will travel 1.6 million miles in its annual journey around the Sun, the 4.6-billionth such round-trip. It will rotate about its axis exactly once.

Sources:, Daily Green,

One thought on “40 Environmental Facts

  1. Mistake – 1921

    In, 1931, Albert Einstein, collected a Nobel Prize for is work in solar and photovoltaic experimentation.

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