This Sunday we come together to celebrate Earth and all her glory. We are pretty excited about all things Nature here every day, but having a day set apart as time to appreciate how our planet is both fragile and magnificent in the same breath is something we look forward to all year long. To kick off our Earth Day festivities we wanted to share 8 facts about this home we call Earth, some not so wonderful and some beyond wonder.
1. Half the world’s tropical and temperate forests are now gone. Most of this loss, about 450 million hectares has occurred in the last 30 years.
2. Approximately one billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the United States. Americans use 85 million tons of paper a year. More than 100 billion pieces of junk mail are delivered in the United States each year. About 44% of junk mail is never opened.
3. Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Plastic can take up to a thousand years to break down in a landfill. Recycling plastic takes 88% less energy than creating new plastic from raw materials. Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the Earth four times. Americans throw away 35 billion plastic bottles every year.
4. Annually, we fill enough garbage trucks to form a line that would stretch halfway between the Earth and the moon. About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material! Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted. The U.S. is the number one waste-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year.
5. Forty-three thousand tons of food is thrown out in the United States each day. roughly 50 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away—some 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually
6. Not too hot, not too cold, it's juuust right. Earth resides in a habitable zone called the Goldilocks zone. The odds of being in our neck of the woods is somewhere around 1 in 700 quintillion.
7. Our planet is home to 8.7 million species and only 14% have been identified. Up to 1 million species live in the oceans, and 2/3 of them are yet to be described.
8. Nicknamed the Blue Planet, our Earth is primarily made up of water. 68.7% of Earth's fresh water is trapped in glaciers. 97% of the water on Earth is salt water, the fresh water of our rivers, lakes and marshlands only account for 0.3% of Earth's water. If a leaky faucet was dripping at one drop per second, 3,000 gallons of water would be wasted in a year.