National Geographic EarthPulse

So I finally got around to reading that National Geographic magazine at work the other day.  It was a gorgeous magazine with lovely photographs, maps, and graphs.  It was also quite informative; I expected no less from National Geographic.  The main idea of the issue was to look at the global human footprint.  There were sections on population, civil conflicts, food, deforestation, and more.  Unfortunately, I did not have a notebook or any way to take notes as I read, so I came up with the clever idea of snapping photos of statistics or interesting paragraphs on my cell phone.  Here is what I gleaned from those photos:

  • “all but 10% of the large fish in the seas have been plundered”
  • “fully a quarter of the planet’s fertile soils have been degraded by overuse and misuse”
  • “As the human population has quadrupled in the past century, the world economy has increased 14-fold, industrial output 40-fold, and the area of irrigated land five-fold.”
  • pork is the most commonly eaten meat followed by poultry, bovine meat, and sheep and goats respectively
  • the farming of pigs and poultry creates a lot of waste and can pollute water supplies
  • “cattle contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, overgrazing, and water pollution”
  • sheep and goats have smaller impacts
  • 46% of cereals are projected to be used as animal feed by 2020
  • “70 million metric tons more meat was consumed annually by developing countries in the mid-1990s compared to the mid-1970s”
  • “23% of the global economy is consumed by the United States, which has only 5% of the world’s population”
  • an astounding “27% of food available for consumption in the United States is discarded” (that is nearly a third!)
  • “20 million people could be fed each day if 25% of discarded U.S. food was recovered”
  • “17% of the garbage sent to U.S. landfills is food scraps”

For more information, check out the EarthPulse website.

Megan

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