A statistical look at where human history has brought us. Additions or suggestions are invited; send to email@example.com
Carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" trap heat in the atmosphere and raise average global surface temperatures. Emissions of carbon dioxide grew 12-fold between 1900 and 2000, from 534 million metric tons per year in 1900 to 6.59 billion metric tons in 1997( State of the World).
In the same period, human population nearly quadrupled, from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion, progressively consuming greater quantities of fossil fuels-oil, gas and coal. Expanded agriculture, destruction of forests and increased production of certain chemicals also increase greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the earth's atmosphere will warm by as much as 5.8 degrees Celsius over the coming century, a rate unmatched over the past 10,000 years. The IPCC's "best estimate" scenario projects a sea-level rise of about half a metre by 2100 (with a range of 15 to 95 centimetres), substantially greater than the increase over the last century (State of the World).
The human and ecological impacts of rising oceans include increased flooding, coastal erosion, salinization of aquifers, and loss of coastal cropland, wetlands and living space. The intensity and frequency of hurricanes and other hazardous weather may also increase, endangering the growing human population in coastal areas. Rising global surface temperatures and changes in precipitation magnitude, intensity and geographical distribution may well redraw the world renewable resources map. Whether or not these climatic changes affect net global agricultural production, they are almost certain to shift productivity among regions and countries, and within nations (State of the World).
Earth's average temperature has been hotter over the last quarter century than during the previous four centuries and possibly much longer, a definitive new National Academy of Sciences study has found. (Davidson.)
If emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at the currrent rate, there may be many centuries of warming and a near total loss of Arctic tundra, according to a new climate study. (Revkin.)
The Arctic ice cap has thinned by 42 percent(State of the World).
To date, 27 percent of the world's coral reefs have been lost (State of the World).
Unless fossil fuel use slows dramatically, the Earth's temperature could rise to as high as 6 degrees above the 1990 level by 2100. Such an increase could lead to acute water shortages, declining food production, and the proliferation of deadly diseases such as malaria and dengue fever (State of the World).
Unless change occurs, climate change will soon rival habitat destruction in dooming plants and animals to extinction. Eighteen to 35 percent of species will vanish from six key large global areas; this could mean the loss of up to a million species worldwide (Chui 3A) .
By 2050, rising temperatures exacerbated by human-induced belches of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could send more than a million of Earth's land-dwelling plants and animals down the road to extinction, according to a recent study. "Climate change now represents at least as great a threat to the number of species surviving on Earth as habitat-destruction and modification," said Chris Thomas, a conservation biologist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom (Roach).
Some 50 percent of the world's flora and fauna could be on a path to extinction within a hundred years. And everything is affected: fish, birds, insects, plants, and mammals. As many as 11 percent of birds, or 1,100 species out of the world's nearly 10,000, are on the edge of extinction; it's doubtful that the majority of these 1,100 will live much beyond the end of the next century. Also a team of respected botanists recently reported that one in eight plants is at risk of becoming extinct. This is a worldwide epidemic of extinctions (Morrell).
Such a rate of extinction has occurred only five times since complex life emerged, and each time it was caused by a catastrophic natural disaster. For instance, geologists have found evidence that a meteorite crashed into Earth 65 million years ago, leading to the demise of the dinosaurs. That was the most recent major extinction. Today the Earth is again in extinction's grip--but the cause has changed. The sixth extinction is not happening because of some external force. It is happening because of us, Homo sapiens, an "exterminator species," as one scientist has characterized humankind (Morrell).
The risk of extinction that over dozens of species of frogs and other amphibians around the globe, due to pressures that range from deforestation to ozone depletion. These are "an important bioindicator-a sort of barometer of Earth's health-more sensitive to environmental stress than other organisms" (State of the World).
As many as 122 species of frogs have died out since 1980, and a new study documents for the first time a direct correltion between climatic warming and the disappearance. Warming made a fungus fatal to the frogs more prevalant; 80 percent of the time there has been a correlation between higher temperatures and frog species extinction. (Eilperin.)
Thirty five percent of the world's fisheries report declining yields (Jones 25).
GLOBAL WEALTH AND POVERTY
Around 1.7 billion people worldwide-more than a quarter of humanity-have entered the "consumer class," adopting the diets, transportation systems, and lifestyles that were limited to the rich nations of Europe, North America, and Japan during most of the last century. In China alone, 240 million people have joined the ranks of consumers-a number that will soon surpass that in the United States (Richer).
The 12 percent of the world's people living in North America and Western Europe account for 60 percent of this consumption, while the one-third living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa account for only 3.2 percent (Richer).
Some 500 billionaires on this planet, mostly Americans, have the equivalent assets of half of the world's population (Krieger).
Basic education for all would cost $6 BILLION a year.$8 BILLION is spent annually for cosmetics in the United States alone. Installation of water and sanitation for all would cost $9 BILLION plus some annual costs;$11 BILLION is spent annually on ice cream in Europe. Reproductive health services for all women would cost $12 BILLION a year;$12 BILLION a year is spent on perfumes in Europe and the United States (United Nations Development).
1.2 billion people across the world live on less than $1 a day-a condition classified as "extreme poverty" and characterized by hunger, illiteracy, vulnerability, sickness and premature death. Half the world's population, 2.3 billion people, live on $2 a day or less (State of the World).
More than a billion people cannot fulfill their basic needs for food, water, sanitation, health care, housing and education. Nearly 60 per cent of the 4.4 billion people living in developing countries lack basic sanitation, almost one third do not have access to clean water supplies, one quarter lack adequate housing, 20 per cent do not have access to modern health services, and 20 per cent of children do not attend school through grade five (State of the World).
On our planet over one billion people are illiterate, and some 100 million children are denied access to primary education(Krieger).
Over the past decade, youth unemployment rates worldwide have jumped from 11.7 percent to a record 14.4 percent in 2003, more than double the overall global unemployment rate. (An estimated) 88 million young people, ages 15-24, were without work in 2005, nearly half the world's jobless (The Worldwatch 25).
GLOBAL LIVING CONDITIONS--WATER
1.2 billion people lack access to clean water and hundreds of millions breathe unhealthy air. Income is related to the availability of water between and within nations. (State of the World).
Global population has tripled over the past 70 years and water use has grown six-fold as the result of industrial development and increased irrigation. Worldwide, 54 per cent of the annual available fresh water is being used. If per capita consumption everywhere reached the level of more developed countries we could be using 90 per cent of the available water by 2025(State of the World).
In the year 2000, 508 million people lived in 31 water-stressed (1700 cubic meters per capita per year) or -scarce countries (1000 cubic meters). By 2025, 3 billion people will be living in 48 such countries. This is a sixfold increase(State of the World).
By 2015, 3 billion people, or 40 percent of the world's population, will live in water-stressed countries (The Worldwatch 6).
The World Health Organization reports that about 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water (whatever its quantity)(State of the World).
2.4-3.0 billion people lack access to sanitation. These shortcomings are most pronounced in rural areas, where 29 per cent of residents lack access to clean water and 62 per cent to sanitation systems (State of the World).
In developing countries, 90-95 per cent of sewage and 70 per cent of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into surface waters where they pollute the usable water supply(State of the World).
Agriculture uses two thirds of the available fresh water (State of the World).
In California, agriculture accounts for 7 percent of economy but uses 43 percent of the water. (Harpers April)
GLOBAL LIVING CONDITIONS--FOOD
Worldwide, nearly 2 billion people suffer from hunger and chronic nutrient deficiencies....Among the major food security threats on the horizon are the loss of diversity of plant and animal species, the emergence of new diseases and foodborne illnesses, and food bioterror (Worldwatch 63).
842 million people go to bed hungry each night, most of them in Africa and Lat in America--though interestingly 34 million of them are in the former Soviet Union countries, and 10 million even in the rich industrialized world (Vallely).
Nearly 2 billion people in developing countries are anemic(State of the World).
GLOBAL LIVING CONDITIONS--POLLUTION & HEALTH CARE
Unclean water and associated poor sanitation kill over 12 million people each year. Air pollution kills nearly 3 million more(State of the World).
It has been estimated that roughly 60 per cent of the global burden of disease from acute respiratory infections, 90 per cent from diarrhea disease, 50 per cent from chronic respiratory conditions and 90 per cent from malaria could be avoided by simple environmental interventions(State of the World).
Air pollution kills an estimated 2.7 million to 3.0 million people every year, about 90 per cent of them in the developing world(State of the World).
Within each decade, the prevalence of asthma increased50 percent. Worldwide, more than 300 million people are affected, the Global Initiative for Asthma said. The World Health Organization adds that deaths are projected to rise by almost 20 percent in the next ten years without urgent action. Treatment costs more than HIV and TB treatment combined (Kole).
A February 2001 University of North Carolina (U.S.) study found that fetal deaths are almost twice as likely among pregnant women in California farming communities who live near areas where certain pesticides were sprayed. Deaths appeared to be a result of exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy. These findings are relevant to developing countries where regulation of chemical application is less stringent and where even more dangerous chemicals banned in the developed world are still used in agriculture and disease control(State of the World).
In 1997 the International Association for Research on Cancer found high levels of dioxin in human breast milk in 29 of 32 countries studied, including France, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the United States and Viet Nam(State of the World).
A controversial set of studies of U.S. girls points to a nationwide trend towards earlier and earlier puberty. Other studies show that girls exposed to high levels of PCBs and DDE (a product resulting from the breakdown of DDT) in utero entered puberty 11 months earlier than did those without such exposure(State of the World).
Every minute, totaling 509,000 avoidable deaths each year, a woman somewhere in the world dies in childbirth (Loth).
Few of the 70,000 or so chemicals on the market in Europe have been adequately tested for safety. But several of those that have been tested increase the prevalence of cancer, disrupt hormonal systems, and retard child development (The Worldwatch 78).
Ending poverty has been an international aim since 1960. After significant advances between 1970 and 1990, the rate of poverty reduction in the 1990s fell to only one third of the pace required to meet the United Nations' commitment to halve poverty levels by 2015(State of the World).
The US remains last among industrialized countries in the amount of its gross domestic product that it allocates for international development at--.11 percent. The US is spending more on its plans to research, develop and deploy missile defenses ($7.8 billion) than it for its international humanitarian and development assistance ($7.6 billion)(Krieger).
There are about 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world, down from the all-time high in 1985 of 65,000. The United States has 10,240; Russia has 8400; China has 390; France has 350; UK has 200-300; India has 60-90; Pakistan has 55-250, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datainx.asp). There are many other suspected nuclear states (List of).
Currently, only six countries worldwide possess declared stocks of chemical weapons-- Albania, India, Libya, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. Russia and the United States have over 98 percent of those stockpiles (Worldwatch 142).
If health care spending in the world's 60 poorest countries could be steadily increased from the present $13 per capita to $38 by 2015, experts say, on average 8 million lives could be saved each year. This would require a total contribution from industrial countries of abut 438 billion--a fraction of what the United States recently spent to unseat Saddam Hussein in Iraq (The Worldwatch 44).
Each year more than 2.3 million people, primarily in poor countries, die from eight diseases that could easily be prevented by vaccination (The Worldwatch 47).
"1 of Every 75 U.S. Men in Prison." The Associated Press May 27, 2004
"5.6 million Americans have spent time in prison." San Jose Mercury News, 18 August 2003, 4A.
Armas, Genaro C. "Women still lag in job earnings." San Jose Mercury News. June 4, 2004.
Borenstein, Seth. "Industry, EPA debate report of rare increase in pollutants." San Jose Mercury News, 23 June 2004.
Carey, Benedict. "Study: Half US suffers mentally." San Jose Mercury News. June 7, 2005. 9A.
Carroll, Rebecca. "Most female prisoners ever." San Francisco Chronicle. October 24, 2005. A2.
"Cars outnumber drivers in US." Thomas Crosbie Media Archives. August 30, 2003. http://archives.tcm.ie/breakingnews/2003/08/30/story111553.asp
Chui, Glenna. "Study: global warming to doom many species." San Jose Mercury News, 8 January 2004. 3A.
Collier, Lorna. "Students Slim Down," San Jose Mercury News, July 22, 2003.
Colliver, Victoria. "More in US lack health insurance. " San Francisco Chronicle. August 30, 2006. A7
Davidson, Keay. "It's official: We live in hot times." San Francisco Chronicle, June 23, 2006. A1.
deGraaf, John. "Time for Bread and Roses." Alternet.org, December 20, 2004
"Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data from the January - June 2001 National Health Interview Survey" Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs. July 22, 2003
Eilperin, Juliet. "Frog species dying out--global warming blamed." San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006. A7.
Fact Sheet on Voter Participation among Youth and Minorities. National Association of Secretaries of State. 16 August 2004. http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:1nzEELE2IaIJ:www.nass.org/Young%2520Voter%2520Fact%2520Sheet.pdf+voter+participation+statistics&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
Fulbright, Leslie. Cosby, others, say black men still in crisis. San Francisco Chronicle. July 19, 2006. A5.
Glaczko, Gina. "Native American Statistics," The Heard Museum. Turtle Tracks for Kids. November 2001. http://www.turtle-tracks-for-kids.org/Messages%20from%20the%20People/Population%20statistics.htm. 23 July 2003
Greenhouse, Cheryl. "Going Without Health Insurance? A New Project Looks at the Consequences," In Focus Magazine, http://infocusmagazine.org/1.1/meetings.html. 22 July 2003.
Harpers Index April 2003. http://www.harpers.org/harpersindex/listing.php3?sub_date=2003-04-01
Harpers Index June 2003 http://www.harpers.org/harpers-index/listing.php3?sub_date=2003-05-01
Harpers Index May 2003 http://www.harpers.org/harpers-index/listing.php3?sub_date=2003-06-01
Harris, Steven."Taking aim at male/female wage gap," Christian Science Monitor, 1/31/00
http://www.csmonitor.com/atcsmonitor/specials/women/work/work013100.html . 23 July 2003
Heinrichs, Allison. M. "AIDS cases increase in US." San Jose Mercury News, July 29, 2003. 7A.
Hendricks, Tyler. "Record number died crossing border in 05." San Francisco Chronicle. October 1, 2005.
Hightower, Jim. "CEOs pay themselves $7,452 an hour (on average)," The Hightower Lowdown, Vol. 5, No. 6, June 2003.
Hughey, Aaron W. http://www.wku.edu/echo/archive/2003march/stories/census.htm
"Hunger and Homelessness Increase." AP News. Dec. 18, 2003.
"Incarcerated population grows to 2.1 million." San Jose Mercury News, April 25, 2005. 4A.
Italie, Hillel. "Report Shows Big Drop in Reading in US." AP. July 8, 2004.
Jewell, Mark. "Illness sends many into bankruptcy." San Francisco Chronicle, 2 February 2005. A 13.
Jobs. AFL-CIO Special Report. March 2004.
Johnston, David Cay. "Amercians' income shrank 9 percent, IRS says." San Francisco Chronicle, 30 July 2004. C1.
Jones, Kelly, Astrid Scholz, and Aaron Lehmer. "World Sustainability Conference." Z Magazine. June 2002.
Knight, Danielle. "Thousands die annually from power-plant pollution" Third World Network Online. October 17, 2003. http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/plant.htm
Kole, William. "Parents unaware of risks from asthma, study says." San Francisco Chronicle, 15 June 2006.
Krieger, David. "Economic Justice for All," Common Dreams, 23 May 2003. http://www.globalpolicy.org/socecon/inequal/2003/0523forall.htm 21 July 2003
Krugman, Paul. "It Really Is A Sick Society," San Francisco Chronicle. 7 May 2006. E7.
Krugman, Paul. "The Death of Horatio Alger," The Nation. 5 January 2004. 16.
Lazurus, David. "Bush's 'economic stimulus' means tax giveaways, lost jobs," San Francisco Chronicle, June 15, 2003.
Lelchuk, Ilene. US household income rises a bit, but pvoerty rate maintains its grip." San Francisco Chronicle. August 30, 2006. A7.
Leondar-Wright, Betsy. "Federal Reserve: Racial Wealth Gap Has Grown," United for a Fair Economy, March 7, 2003. http://www.ufenet.org/research/RWG/SCF_Race_2003.html. 22 July 2003
List of countries with nuclear weapons. Wikipedia online. 24 January 2005. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_nuclear_weapons
"Little change for blacks found since Watts riots." San Jose Mercury News, July 15, 2005. 8A.
Loth, Renee. "A Culture of Women." The Boston Globe. March 11, 2004. Editorial page.
Mantilla, Karla. "Equality or...Radical Transformation?" off our backs, January-February 2004. 12.
Markoe, Lauren. "Senate issues apology for not fighting lynchings." San Jose Mercury News, June 14, 2005. 3A.
Matthews, Jay. "College life too much for struggling students." San Jose Mercury News. May 12, 2004.
May, Patrick. "Makeover on the Menu," San Jose Mercury News, June 17, 2003. E1.
McDonough, Siobhan. "Hunger and Homelessness increase in the US." Salon magazine online, December 23, 2003. www.salon.com
McIntyre, John. "Figuratively speaking: taking health care's temperature." San Jose Mercury News, Sunday, July 11, 2004. (Source: poll by Harris Interactive.)
"More People Have Health Insurance, Census Bureau Reports." Press release from United States Department of Commerce. September 28, 2001. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/cb01-162.html
Morell, Virginia. The Sixth Extinction. National Geographic online. 2003.http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/9902/fngm/index.html
National Voter Registration and Turnout in Presidential Elections - 1960 to 1992, Federeal Elections Commissions. http://www.fec.gov/votregis/turn/natto.htm
Organic Consumers. Organic Bytes e-newsletter. http://www.organicconsumers.org/organic/wic-faq.pdf
Organic Consumers Newborns. Organic Bytes e-newsletter. http://www.organicconsumers.org/school/newborns071505.cfm
Patterson, Thomas E. "THE VANISHING VOTER:Public Involvement in an Age of Uncertainty," John F. Kennedy School of Government , 2001. http://www.vanishingvoter.org/ 23 July 2003
Pritchard, Justin. "US jobs deadly for many Mexicans." San Jose Mercury News, March 14, 2004.
"Record Population in US justice system." San Jose Mercury News, July26, 2004. 6A.
Revkin, Andrew C. "Climate study augurs centuries of warming." San Francisco Chronicle. Nove. 2, 2005. A20.
'Richer, fatter, and not much happier." State of the World, Worldwatch Institute. 2004. http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/sow/2004/
Rizvi, Haider. "Hungry in a Wealthy Nation," Inter Press Service, March 26, 2003 http://www.globalpolicy.org/socecon/develop/2003/0326ushunger.htm. 21 July 2003
Roach, John. "By 2050 Warming to Doom Million Species, Study Says."National Geographic News. July 12, 2004.
Schwartz, John. "Workload and stress undercutting health." San Jose Mercury News. 5 Sept. 2003. 12A.
Shane, Scott. "US prisoner rate leads the world." San Jose Mercury News, June 1, 2003. 7A
Shore, Stan. "You with the big car, quit whining." San Jose Mercury News. May 26, 2004.
Shulman, Beth. "Working and Poor in the US." The Nation. February 9, 2004.
State of America's Children 2004: A Continuing Portrait of Inequality Fifty Years After Brown v. Board of Education.Children's Defense Fund. July 13, 2004
State of the World 2001 "Global Environment Reaches Dangerous Crossroads," Worldwatch Institute, http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2001/english/ch02.html . 21 July 2003
Stein, Rob. "Studies: Health care disparities exist." San Jose Mercury News. August 18, 200. 12A.
Street, Paul. "Class, Color, and the Hidden Injuries of Race."Z Magazine, June 2002.
The WorldWatch Institute. State of the World 2005: Redefining Global Security. NY: W.W. Norton Publishing/Worldwatch Institute, 2005.
"Thousands in US prisons not guilty, study suggests." San Francisco Chronicle. April 19, 2005.
UFE. "Black-white gaps still wide--some even widening--since Dr. King's death." United for a Fair Economy press release, January 12, 2004.
United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2000 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000);
Vallely, Paul. "How the world is getting hungrier each year." Independent UK, 26 November 2003
Vasquez, Daniel. "Loan rejections on rise for minorities, group says," San Jose Mercury News, 18 October 2003.
Vasquez, Daniel. "Latinos unlock barriers to owning a home," San Jose Mercury News, 12 October 2003.
Vital Signs: Statistics That Measure the State of Racial Inequality.The Journal of
Blacks in Higher Education Issue No. 44, Summer 2004, . http://www.jbhe.com/vital/
Vital Signs: Statistics That Measure the State of Racial Inequality.The Journal of
Blacks in Higher Education Issue No. 45, Autumn 2004, . http://www.jbhe.com/vital/
Weisman, Jonathon. "Census shows increase in American poverty," San Jose Mercury News, 27 September 2003.
Winter, Greg. "Students to feel cuts in Pell funds." New York Times News Service. December 23, 2004
Wolff, Edward. "The Growing Gap in the United States Between the Rich and the Rest" Third World Traveler, The Wealth Divide, Multinational Monitor, May 2003 http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/America/Wealth_Divide.html. 22 July 2003