The Mexico-based Forest Stewardship Council has certified over 25
million hectares of commercial forest in 54 countries as meeting social and
environmental standards for sustainable forestry, more than double the area
Worldwide, buyers of energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
have eliminated the need for nearly 40 medium-sized, coal-fired power
At the seafood counter, consumers can now find rock lobster, cockles,
hoki, mackerel, herring, and salmon that carry the Marine Stewardship
Council's logo as having been harvested under environmentally responsible
Thai consumers have used information from an appliance-labeling
program to drive the market share of energy efficient, single-door
refrigerators from 12 percent in 1996 to 96 percent in 1998.
In 21 European countries, beachgoers follow the ratings of the
European Blue Flag campaign to find some 2,750 beaches and marinas with
high environmental standards and sanitary and safe facilities.
Coffee drinkers in the US and Canada can ask for their coffee to be
brewed from beans carrying the Bird Friendly seal of approval from the
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This program certifies that the beans
meet standards for shade farming and organic production.
New Economy, Not Clean Economy
In 2001, about 520 million people used the Internet, which encompassed
147 million host computers, almost double the number in 1999. And the
number of mobile telephone subscribers rose to almost 1 billion in 2001,
nearly pulling even with the number of fixed-line connections.
A single semiconductor plant may use between 500 and 1,000 different
chemicals, making the semiconductor industry one of the most chemically
intensive ever known.
A computer monitor contains 1.8 to 3.6 kilograms of lead, a heavy
metal that damages the nervous system and poisons blood cell development.
In some American businesses, one computer is used per user per year,
fueling a growing waste crisis. And at least 315 million computers in the
United States are predicted to become obsolete by 2004.
300?500 million metric tons of hazardous waste were generated
worldwide each year during the past decade, amounting roughly to 50-83
kilograms per person in 1999 alone.
Discarded cell phones are a growing contributor to electronic waste,
as consumers seek the latest technology and manufacturers introduce
The Thirst For Sugar
The United States, with less than 5 percent of world population, is
the largest carbonated soft drink consumer, accounting for one third of
total soda consumption in 1999. China, with about 20 percent of world's
population, is the fourth largest consumer of soda and is growing rapidly.
Soda consumption contributes to tooth decay, nutrient deficiencies,
and caffeine dependence. A recent study showed a direct correlation
between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity.
In 2000, the two largest soft drink corporations, the Coca-Cola
Company and PepsiCo. spent $4.6 billion worldwide on advertising, a
significant portion of which targeted children.
In the United States, the share of harvests lost to pests has
increased from 30 percent in the early 1940s to 37 percent in the
1990s - despite a 10-fold increase in pesticide use.
The US constitutes about 40 percent of the world market for household
pesticides, with annual sales exceeding $1 billion. China is the second
largest market with $580 million in sales.
The United Kingdom spends roughly $200 million each year to remove
pesticides from drinking water, equal to one quarter of what British
farmers spend on pesticides themselves each year.
Energy efficiency labeling programs can be found in 43 countries
around the globe, a sevenfold increase since 1980. If 20 percent of
American consumers were influenced to purchase one of the most efficient
refrigerators available, the electricity savings would eliminate the need
for more than four large power plants.
Wind energy remains the world's fastest-growing energy source. Wind
generating capacity reached 24,800 megawatts in 2001, up 37 percent from
18,100 megawatts in 2000.
Production of photovoltaic (solar) cells exceeded 390 megawatts in
2001, marking the fourth straight year of growth at or above 30 percent.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association has offered a
voluntary commitment to increase auto fuel efficiency standards to 41 miles
per gallon (5.7 liters per 100 kilometers) by 2008. In Japan, regulations
will likely bring about an improvement to about 35 miles per gallon (6.7
liters per 100 kilometers) for new models by 2010.
Currently, the combined fuel economy of new passenger cars and light
trucks in the US stands at just 24.7 miles per gallon (9.5 liters per 100
kilometers), the second-worst figure in 20 years.
Car sharing is emerging rapidly in Europe, North America and Asia.
Each shared car is estimated to eliminate four cars from the road.
A lane of light rail can move four to eight times more people per hour
than a lane of highway.
Boom and Bust
The largest generation of young people in human history (1.7 billion
people aged 10-24) is now reaching reproductive age.
Half the population of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria is
under 25, while over 60 percent of Pakistan and Afghanistan's populations
fall into that category.
Every day, 30,000 children under the age of 5 die of preventable
More than a quarter of all children in South Asia and 40 percent of
all children in Africa did not have access to formal education in 1998.
Half of California's new schoolteachers in 2000 had either no
credentials or were inadequately prepared for the subjects they taught.
Many highly qualified teachers from developing countries are being
recruited to fill positions in US and European schools.