Ecology Facts • Every day a different fact will be on the board for you to copy in your notebook. Only copy BOLD TYPE. • Number your facts. • If you are absent, copy the fact from someone when you return. • These facts were taken from our Ecology book, The Green Book, and reputable environmental websites.
FACT 1: On average, YOU generate 4.5 pounds of trash every day. Over the course of your life, that will total six hundred times your average weight in garbage. This includes paper, yard trimmings, food scraps, plastic, rubber, metal, wood, glass, etc. In the end, we will each leave a ninety-thousand-pound legacy of trash for our grandchildren.
FACT 2: Americans use at least twice as much water and energy per person as anyone else in the world. • Those are big problems since there is a scarcity of both to go around! • Energy in the home is used mostly for heating and cooling.
Fact 3: By 2025, 2/3 of the world’s population will suffer from water shortages. • That means approximately 5.3 billion people will be affected! • Try to flush one less time during the day and that will save 4.5 gallons of water-as much as the average person in Africa uses ALL DAY for cooking, drinking, bathing, and cleaning.
Fact 4: EIGHT million plastic water bottles are thrown away every day. • How many do you use a day? • How many of those water bottles still have water in them when you toss them out? • I reuse my water bottles. Do you?
Fact 5: If everyone in America simply separated the paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum products from the trash and recycled, we could decrease the amount of waste in the landfills by 75%. Currently, it takes an area the size of Pennsylvania to dump out waste each year. This Friday is Statesmen Café and be sure to BYOC! Keep the Styrofoam out of the landfill.
Fact 6: Not letting the water run while brushing your teeth can save up to 1,825 gallons of water annually. • That much water could fill up your bathtub more than thirty-five times! • What are some other things you can do to save your water?
Fact 7: More than two hours of the average American's day is spent sending e-mail and surfing the internet. Internet servers use as much energy as all the TV’s in the U.S. combined. Cut back on your computer time. Save energy. Save the Earth! How much time do you spend on the internet and E-mail?
Fact 8: The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. This amounts to about 2,000,000,000 trees per year! • Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution! • If all our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year!
Fact 9: Every year ONE American produces over 3,285 pounds of hazardous waste. • The term "hazardous waste" comprises all toxic chemicals, radioactive materials, and biologic or infectious waste. • Hazardous waste presents immediate or long-term risks to humans, animals, plants, or the environment. It requires special handling for detoxification or safe disposal. • Examples: many types of paint, gas, antifreeze, solvents, pesticides, acids, bleach, industrial cleaning agents, batteries(The EPA has a list of 500 types!!)
Fact 10: Motor oil never wears out, it just gets dirty. Oil can be recycled, re-refined and used again, reducing our reliance on imported oil. • What do you do with the used oil from your vehicles? earth911.com • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000gallons of fresh water. • If you recycle just two gallons of used oil it can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours.
Fact 11: Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year! • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator . • Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away!
FACT 12: The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials. • A modern glass bottle would take 4000 years or more to decompose -- and even longer if it's in the landfill. • If recycled glass is substituted for half of the raw materials, the waste is cut by more than 80%.
Fact 13: The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste. • The US population discards each year 16,000,000,000 diapers, 1,600,000,000 pens, 2,000,000,000 razor blades, 220,000,000 car tires, and enough aluminum to rebuild the US commercial air fleet four times over.
Fact 14: If all our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year! • If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year. • The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
Fact 15: There is no limit to the amount of times aluminum can be recycled. • An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now! • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours -- or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline. • Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.
Fact 16: Compared to regular food, there are about 40% more antioxidants in organic food. • Organic foods are those that are grown/produced without hormones, steroids, and other chemical enhancements to promote growth and appearance. • Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage.
Fact 17: The appliance that uses the most electricity in your house is the HOT WATER HEATER. • You can wrap the hot water heater with an insulation wrap to trap the heat to reduce your electric bill. • Make sure before purchasing a hot water heater you choose one that is the right size for your home. • Gas hot water heaters provide instant heat and do not require any electricity to heat the water or to keep it hot.
About 10 to 15 percent of your TV’s energy is still used when powered of.The average American household has two TV’s if everyone would unplug there TV’s we could save 1 billion dollars in electric bills. Fact 18: Unplug your TV when it’s not in use. Phantom loads increase your electric bill.
Fact:A typical four square mile patch of rainforest contains as many as 1,500 flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies. • Why is this important to you? • What are we doing about it?
Fact 19: Kudzu, an invasive vine from Japan, was imported because it grew fast and was a good groundcover that helped stop erosion. • It’s rapid growth caused it to take over entire forests, blocking sunlight until the trees died. It grew over barns, houses, fences and power lines. • Controlling it has not been easy. So far, the most effective control is grazing goats!
Fact 20: Ozone depleting gases are CFC’S found in refrigerants, aerosols, solvents, methyl bromide fumigant, and halon. • Chlorofluorocarbons=CFC • 1978-U.S. banned the use of products that released CFC’S into the air. • The first hole in the ozone was discovered in the early 1980’s. • In 1987 the Montreal Protocol was established uniting 180 nations in the agreement to stop making products that released harmful gases. • Scientists say that the ozone can be repaired over time.
Fact 21: Many houseplants found in American homes came from the rainforest originally, like philodendron, orchids, and bromeliads. • Rainforest plants are adapted to survive in the dim sunlight under the thick forest canopy. • That’s a perfect trait for a plant that will live in you living room and only get a little light!
FACT 22: Some bogs are so acidic that when a human body is found in one they are often preserved like a mummy. • Bogs form from shallow ponds that have slowly collected plants and leaves until they are thick. • Moss and ferns root right over the water in the rotting plant matter. Over time this makes a thick mat on top of the water that is called peat. • No air can get in and the rotting plants beneath build up acids. • The oldest body found in a bog was in Denmark and is thought to be 10,000 years old.
Fact 23: Ivory used for jewelry and other decorative pieces represents the death of an elephant or walrus. The exotic animal pet trade is not regulated in all countries around the world. • Owning an exotic pet does drive the hunting of exotic species. • It’s best to leave wild animals in their natural habitat.
Fact 24: The Organic Food Production Act was passed in the U.S. in 1990 and calls for the U.S.D.A. to make national standards for organic products. • Any product labeled “organic” must be raised without synthetic chemicals or in ground that has been clear of chemicals for at least 3 years! • Plants can not be genetically altered. • Meats have to come from animals that were not given hormones or antibiotics. • A study by the USDA found that pesticides stay on fruit even after they have been washed and peeled.
Fact 25: “Frankenfoods” are plants and animals that have had genes added to them in laboratories to enhance their traits. • These added genes can keep plants from growing mold in the field or allow them to withstand drought conditions • Genetic Engineering can help plants resist pests and reduce the need for pesticides. • Genetic Engineering can add vitamins to our food and help with the shortage of food. • Will this process affect humans and how?
Fact 26: Toxic chemicals leach out of Styrofoam products into the food that they contain (especially when heated in a microwave). These chemicals threaten human health and reproductive systems. • Bring your own mug/cup for Statesmen Café. • Each year, Americans throw away 25 trillion Styrofoam cups. • Many cities and counties have outlawed polystyrene foam (i.e. Taiwan, Portland, OR, and Orange County, CA
Fact 27: While some humans destroy habitats, others are creating habitats. Examples: flower gardens, landfills and dumps, sewers, subways, barns, vegetable gardens, and agriculture fields. • It is thought the grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park would have gone extinct if it were not for the garbage dumps there in the 1950’s and 60’s. • Sometimes man-made places provide alternate habitats to adaptive animals.
Fact 28: Perhaps the most famous extinction of animals happened from the careless introduction of predators to a protected ecosystem-the island of Mauritius, off the coast of Africa. • The large flightless birds (dodos) had never seen predators before. • The sailors brought over on their ships dogs, cats, pigs and rats which preyed on the dodo birds. • The dodos were clueless and flightless. • It took less than 100 years for all the dodos to disappear completely.
Fact 29: More than 20,000,000 Hershey's Kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of aluminum foil. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it. • How many Hershey’s Kisses have you unwrapped lately? • Using recycled aluminum scrap to make new aluminum cans, for example, uses 95 percent less energy than making aluminum cans from bauxite ore, the raw material used to make aluminum.
Fact 30: An area of a rainforest the size of a football field is being destroyed each second. • The forests of Central Africa are home to more than 8,000 different species of plants. • More than 2,000 different species of butterflies are found in the rainforests of South America.
Fact 31: 1 out of 4 ingredients in our medicine is from rainforest plants. • The trees of a tropical rainforest are so densely packed that rain falling on the canopy can take as long as 10 minutes to reach the ground. • Giant bamboo plants can grow up to 9 inches a day. • 80% of the flowers in the Australian rainforests are not found anywhere else in the world.
Fact 32: Rainforests act as the world's thermostat by regulating temperatures and weather patterns. • One-fifth of the world’s fresh water is found in the Amazon Basin. • Rainforests are critical in maintaining the Earth's limited supply of drinking and fresh water.
Fact 33: It takes 10 inches of snow to equal 1 inch of rain. • How much snow did you measure at your house this week? • We are still in need of more rain in our area. • Snow fall is better for the land than rain because the ground absorbs it slowly instead of running off into our streams and ponds.
Fact 34: More gas is spilled every year when people fill up their lawnmowers, weed trimmers, and chippers than was spilled in the whole Exxon Valdez oil spill. • March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, a huge oil tanker, hit a reef in Alaska and burst open. • 11 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the ocean killing massive amounts of wildlife. • Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.(stricter rules, stronger hulls on tankers and better communication guidelines)
Fact 35: As polyethylene breaks down, toxic substances leach into the soil and enter the food chain.It takes 1000 years for polyethylene bags to break down. • Four to five trillion plastic bags are manufactured each year • Americans use over 380 billion polyethylene bags per year • Americans throw away approximately 100 billion polyethylene bags per year • Of those 100 trillion plastic bags, 1% are recycledRead more: "Say No To Plastic Bags: The Shocking Facts About Polyethylene Bags" - http://environmental-activism.suite101.com/article.cfm/say_no_to_plastic_bags#ixzz090Y8OsRQ
Fact 36: Out of every $10 spent buying things, $1 (10%) goes for packaging that is thrown away. Packaging represents about 65% of household trash. • Therefore, try to purchase items with less packaging and think of ways to reuse the packaging. • Throwing packaging materials in the garbage is just like throwing money in the garbage. • Recycle the packaging material instead of throwing it in the trash can.
Fact 37: A major use for discarded tires is as a component in rubber modified asphalt and concrete. Old tires are recycled into floor mats, blasting mats, and muffler hangers. • Whole tires can be used in artificial reefs, such as those used to control erosion. • Tires which have been ground into crumb can be used in traffic cone bases, mud flaps, moisture barriers, and other products.
Fact 38: Only 5 percent of the original prairie in the United States remains. • A quarter of Earth was once covered by grasslands, but much of these have now been turned into farms. • This has resulted in a widespread loss of wildlife habitat.
Fact 39: When taxpayers purchase replacement windows that meet specific energy efficiency requirements, they are eligible for 30% of the amount returned in as a tax credit. This credit is capped at $1,500 for the years of 2009 and 2010. • Unlike a tax deduction that only reduces the amount of your taxable income, a tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe. • The credit is provided for all qualified windows purchased and installed in 2009 and 2010.
Fact 40: If you run a company with 1,000 PCs left on overnight, you can save about $28,000 a year if they are turned off after hours. • CCPS has approximately 750 computers. Therefore, we would save $_____________ annually. • That's not chump change! • Of course, it's also a fact that your PC will function better if you restart it regularly, and nightly shutdowns can help you avoid having to suddenly reboot in the middle of the day when you'd otherwise be productive.”
Fact 41: Here’s how long it takes (on average) some things take to break down: plastics - 500 years,aluminum cans - 500 yearsorganic materials- 6 monthscotton, rags, paper - 6 months • Therefore, when given a choice, choose the items that decompose the fastest! • UNLESS, that is, you really do want to live near a landfill one day!
Fact 42:Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water. • How many loads of laundry does your family wash each week? • Sometimes warm water is necessary to remove greasy stains. Otherwise, keep your settings on COLD/COLD! • Consider using a drying rack or a clothesline instead of the clothes dryer.
Fact 43: The United States has 8% of all forests in the world, making it the fourth most forest-rich country with approximately 750 million acres of forestland. • There are approximately 689 species of trees in the United States. • The majority of forestland is located in the Pacific Coast (including Alaska), and South regions.
Fact 44: 20% of US forestland is under some type of conservation program, which is almost twice the world average of 11%. • The CRP offers landowners, operators, and tenants the opportunity to voluntarily convert land with high erosion rates and other environmentally sensitive land to permanent vegetative cover. Permanent cover options include grasses and legumes, tree plantings, and wildlife habitat.
Fact 45: The world's tallest tree is a Coast Redwood in California, measuring more than 360 ft or 110 m. • The world's oldest trees are 4,600 year old Bristlecone pines in the USA • The 236 ft or 72 m high Ada Tree of Australia has a 50 ft or 15.4 m girth and a root system that takes up more than an acre. • One of the tallest soft wood trees is the General Sherman, a giant redwood sequoia of California. General Sherman is about 275 ft or 84 m high with a girth of 25 ft or 8 m.
Fact 46: One acre of trees removes up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide each year. • The amount of oxygen produced by an acre of trees per year equals the amount consumed by 18 people annually. One tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. • Shade trees can make buildings up to 20 degrees cooler in the summer. • Trees lower air temperature by evaporating water in their leaves.
Fact 47: Dendrochronology is the science of calculating a tree's age by its rings. • Tree rings provide precise information about environmental events, including volcanic eruptions.
Fact 48: As a part of the stimulus package, 70 billion dollars is directed towards promoting GREEN JOBS. • This is a whole category of jobs with a wide ranging need for experience, technical expertise, and physical ability. • These positions are in solar, solar installation, solar panels, energy efficiency, home design, wind power, and many other fields. • These jobs will be more and more plentiful in the coming years.