Earth is the only known planet in our solar system that can support human, plant, and animal life. Our world maintains the perfect distance from the sun, allowing us to flourish and thrive as we live out the day-to-day. It’s easy to take for granted; there’s no daily reminder pushing us to thank our planet for spinning so perfectly. Many of us are so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget how delicate the ecosystem is around us. If there is no Earth, there is no us. That’s why Earth Day is such an important holiday. It forces us to take note of our limited resources and do our part to make this planet a better place.
Since it’s almost Earth Day, what better way to get into an eco-friendly frame of mind than with forty-four fascinating facts about Earth and its environment.
Dissecting Earth Day
• Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970.
• A Santa Barbara oil spill was the catalyst for Earth Day.
• One of the first names for Earth Day was “National Environmental Teach-In”.
• Earth Day became a worldwide celebration in 1990.
• The recycling rate has gone from 10% to 34% in the last 30 years.
• Recycling one ton of paper saves enough energy to heat a home for six months.
• Over 50 million acres of rainforest are lost every year.
• One in four mammals is running the risk of extinction.
• The hottest temperature ever recorded was 134°F in Death Valley, CA on July 10, 1913.
• The coldest temperature ever recorded was -128.6°F in Antarctica on July 21, 1983.
• Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old.
• Earth is the only planet not named after a Roman God.
• Our planet orbits the sun at over 67,000 miles per hour.
• Earth is about 93 million miles away from the sun.
• It takes just over eight minutes for sunlight to reach our planet.
• A second is added to our clocks every few years to make up for Earth’s slowing.
• The ozone decreases about 4% each decade.
• The largest hole in our ozone was 11.5 million square miles over Antarctica in 2000.
• If we start caring for our ozone, it will once again reach normal levels by 2050.
• About 20% of the total population breathes contaminated air.
• Only 1% of China’s population breathes air that is considered “safe”.
• Our planet’s emissions may cause a 12°F temperature rise by the end of this century.
Ordeals in the Ocean
• Coral reefs are the most populated ecosystems on the planet.
• There is an average of 27 oil spills each day in our oceans.
• Plastic trash kills up to 1 million sea birds every year.
• The average American uses more than 750,000 gallons of water each year.
• 71% of our planet’s surface is covered in water.
• All of the water on Earth could fit into 860 mile-wide sphere.
• Our sea levels have risen about 19 centimeters in the last century.
• There’s a floating vortex of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean that’s bigger than the USA.
• Barely 1% of the water on our planet is useable.
• Almost 3.5 billion people depend on the ocean for their food.
Population and Pollution
• Every day, each person creates roughly four pounds of garbage.
• There are 14 billion pounds of trash dumped into the ocean every year.
• The USA contains 5% of the world’s population but uses 25% of all natural resources.
• Manila, Philippines is the most densely populated city in the world.
• Merely 11% of the Earth’s surface is used to grow food.
• Aluminum cans can be perpetually recycled.
• American families throw away almost 90 pounds of plastic every year.
• Glass bottles take over 4,000 years to decompose.
• Over 80% of household waste can be recycled.
• In a mile stretch on an average U.S. highway, there are almost 1,500 pieces of trash.
• Only .6% of America’s workforce commutes on bike.
• Around 80% of Americans describe themselves as environmentally conscious…
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