Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Earth Signs

WorldWatch Institute has released its new vital signs for the Earth.

Vital Signs 2006-2007 contends that "the health of the global economy and the stability of nations will be shaped by our ability to address the huge imbalances in natural resource systems."

Here are 10 factoids from the newest edition as compiled by Robert Mokhiber and Russel Weisman for Znet:

1. Global oil consumption in 2004 was 3.7 billion tons, about eight times more than in 1950. Coal consumption was two-and-a-half times more than 1950, and natural gas more than 15 times greater.

2. 2005 was the warmest year ever recorded on Earth. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide reached 379.6 parts per million for 2005.

3. Thanks largely to Hurricane Katrina, weather-related disasters caused more than $200 billion in damage, nearly double the previous record.Three of the 10 strongest hurricanes ever recorded occurred in 2005.

4. More money was spent on advertising in 2005 than ever before -- $570 billion, about half of which was spent in the United States. The global figure is 11 times more than was spent in 1950, measured in constant dollars.

5. More than 37 million people have died from AIDS over the last two decades.

6. The world's governments spent more than a trillion dollars on the military in 2004, the highest figure since the end of the Cold War.

7. An estimated 20 percent of the world's coral reefs have been effectively destroyed.

8. Twelve percent of all bird species are threatened.

9. A billion people worldwide live in slums.

10. More than 300 million people worldwide are obese. U.S. obesity levels have doubled since 1990, to about 40 percent. Chinese levels have doubled during the same period, now standing at 7 percent."

There is no better compendium of facts and trends that I know of.

I should know.

I'm a Virgo. (an earth sign)

Slightly on the cusp though.


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earthsign art courtesy of Alex Hamilton


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