Matters of Scale - Just a Minute
In the past year, the following changes occurred in the world every minute. In most cases, the rate this year and next will be even faster.
The net amount of forest in Australia, which has very little forest to begin with, was reduced by an area the size of a soccer field.1
The net amount of tropical forest in the world was reduced—mostly by burning—by an area the size of 60 football fields.2
In the United States, suburban sprawl spread over another one hectare (2.5 acres) of land.3
Almost one-half square kilometer of good land turned to desert.4
570 people were driven from their homes by weather disasters, many of which had been greatly worsened by global warming, deforestation, and other human actions.5
23 children died of starvation or malnutrition.6
50 people died of pesticide poisoning.7
245,000 gallons of raw municipal sewage were dumped into the Ganges River in India, which is regarded by Hindus as a Holy Place, and is where millions bathe to be purified.8
$19,000 worth of endangered animals or animal parts were sold on the global black market for endangered species.9
The global economy burned up an amount of energy (mostly fossil fuels), each minute, that the planet took 10,000 minutes to produce through solar energy collection and photosynthesis.10
Sources: 1Ashley Mattoon, WORLD WATCH; 2Ed Ayres, God’s Last Offer: Negotiating for a Sustainable Future; 3Eben Fodor, Better Not Bigger; 4Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential; 5Janet Abramovitz, Worldwatch Institute; 6Optimum Population Trust; 7Paul Hawken, Ecology of Commerce; 8UNDP, Human Development Report; 9Donovan Webster, New York Times Magazine; 10Hawken.