How Fast is the Planet Dying? 26 Eye-Opening Statistics
The resources, biodiversity, and habitability of Earth are vanishing at an alarming rate. Global warming, an accelerating rate of extinction, plastic pollution, unsustainable fish farming, deforestation, air pollution, and food waste are just some of the factors that are threatening the planet.
If you would like to investigate further, you can click on the links to the sources of information for each statistic. Below that, you will discover some valuable resources that will show you how to use less plastic, how to save the rainforest, and how to protect endangered species with small, attainable habits.
1.77 Earths: We would need 1.77 planet Earths to sustain our current demand for resources and absorb our waste. This is referred to as global ecological overshoot.
30 football fields per minute: Twelve million hectares of tropical rainforest are destroyed each year. That is around 30 football fields per minute.
One garbage truck per minute: Every minute, the equivalent of one dump truck of plastic is dumped into oceans.
16 tons per minute: Sixteen tons of sewage are dumped into American waters every 60 seconds.
2050: By 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
2048: By 2048, saltwater fish could run out if nothing changes.
1 in 4: One in four fish sampled at fish markets in California and Indonesia contained plastic.
8 inches (20 centimeters): Global sea levels have risen 8 inches in the past century. However, the rate of increase has nearly doubled in just the past two decades and is accelerating more each year.
79 years: If deforestation continues at the same rate, rainforests will no longer exist in 79 years.
28% percent more: In July of 2019, there were 28% more wildfires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest compared to the previous year. Deforestation is the main culprit.
150 Species: Every 24 hours, up to 150 species are lost. That count amounts to around 10% less global biodiversity each decade.
Two thirds: Two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef have been damaged by coral bleaching. This happens when sea temperatures are too high.
50%: Half of the world’s coral reefs have died in the past 30 years.
1 in 4: One in four species are at risk of extinction.
Nearly 1,000 times: Today’s extinction rate is nearly 1,000 times higher than the natural baseline rate.
Only 4%: Only 4% of mammals are wild. Thirty-six percent are humans, and 60% are livestock.
30-50%: By mid-century, 30% to 50% of species could disappear at the current rate of extinction.
Every 48 hours: Every 48 hours, a forest the size of NYC is destroyed.
Category 4 and 5: Scientific models project that the frequency of hurricanes that reach category 4 and 5 intensity will increase as global temperatures rise.
1 in 3 people: One in three people globally do not have access to clean and safe drinking water.
19 years: In 19 years, the world could run out of fresh water at this pace.
30-40%: Thirty to 40 percent of the food supply is wasted in the United States.
2030: The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that the worst impacts of climate change could be irreversible by 2030.
The 20 warmest years: The 20 warmest years on record have occurred in the past 22 years.
Up to 200 million people: The International Organization on Migration estimates that up to 200 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050.
Around 50%: Around 50% of all carbon emissions are created by the richest 10% of the world’s population.
Compelled to start taking small steps to protect the planet? Here are a few resources that provide education, inspiration, and actionable steps:
Protecting Our Planet Starts With You
50 Ways to Help the Planet: Save Our Environment and Planet Earth
Ten Things You Can Do to Help Save Our Planet
50 Ways to Use Less Plastic
15 Ways to Help Protect Endangered Species
Ten Things You Can Do to Save the Rainforest