Our Environment By the Numbers

Conversations and news about environmental issues can be complicated and filled with a mind-boggling amount of data, facts, and figures. Here we pull out some of the more compelling and important numbers to help you make a little better sense of things.

7,111,601,375. Current population of Earth, as of September 2013.

2,000,000,000. Number of people the planet can actually support, with enough fresh air, clean water, and food for everyone — according to Alan Weisman, best-selling author of Countdown and The World Without Us.

1,000,000. Approximate number of people we’re adding to the planet about every four days.

80,000. Approximate number of chemicals used in modern manufacturing, including in many toys and other children’s products.

8,738. Million metric tons of carbon released into the atmosphere in 2009 from all fossil fuel emission sources.


785. Million metric tons of carbon released into the atmosphere in 1909 from all fossil fuel emission sources.

675. Number of dollars (in millions) — according to a recent report published by The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) — the increased use of LEDs saved in equivalent energy costs across the U.S. in 2012.

301. Current single-charge driving range of the industry-leading Telsa Model S electric car, with a 85 kWh battery. This is up from the 70–100 mile stated driving range of the first generation GM EV1 electric car in 1996.

50. Number of acres (in millions) of tropical rainforest lost every year due to destruction from agriculture, drought, fire, logging, and livestock ranching.

27. Common household uses for a lemon.

14. Number of chemicals regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in children’s toys. The 14 metals are limited in allowable amounts — but not banned.

12. Estimated average number of degrees Fahrenheit global temperatures will increase by the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at the current pace.

10. Million metric tons of carbon released into the atmosphere in 1809 from all fossil fuel emission sources.

9. Number of different chemicals commonly used in fracking fluid that are injected into oil and gas wells at concentrations that pose a threat to human health — according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

5. Number of planets we would need to provide enough resources if the entire world lived like the average American.

1. Planets discovered capable of supporting human life — Earth. So, don’t blow it. Good planets are hard to find.

Crowds image from Bigstock.

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