Since yesterday was World Environment Day I think it's apt that we talk about a topic I rarely see here. On OT we talk politics a lot, even with "issues" that shouldn't even be political (global warming, gay marriage, drugs etc.) so why not talk about the biggest political issue that shouldn't be political there is, the environment!
To start off here's an article from two days ago talking about some facts related to the environment.
Who is the world leader in wind power?
China, where the Global Wind Energy Councils annual report released last month counted more than 74 gigawatts of installed wind power capacity for 2012. That represents almost 27 per cent of the worlds share and is enough to bring electricity to more than 29 million homes.
(Canada, by comparison, had installed 6.2 gigawatts one gigawatt is 1,000 megawatts by the end of last year, which represents about 2 per cent of world capacity.)
Over all, wind power was generated in 79 countries and 24 of those had more than 1,000 megawatts installed.
What is the worlds human population?
More than 7 billion, according to the Population Reference Bureau in 2012, with 82 per cent living in less developed countries. China was the world leader in population last year as home to 1.35 billion people, but it was followed closely by India with 1.26 billion. (Canada, by comparison, most recently counted 35,056,064 people as of January, according to Statistics Canada.)
By 2050, India is projected to become the most populous nation in the world.
What about feeding everyone?
Agricultural production needs to be substantially increased by 60 per cent in the next four decades to meet the growing demand for food, according to the agricultural outlook for 2012-2021 published by the OECD and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The bad news: There will be a 5-per-cent increase (or 69 million hectares) in total arable land by 2050, the report notes, and 25 per cent of agricultural land is already highly degraded.
The good news: We can do better. The UN estimated that in 2011, one-third of food produced for human consumption was wasted. Thats about 1.2-to-2 billion tonnes annually, and in Canada, it amounts to about $27-billion worth of food never making it to our bellies, according to the Value Chain Management Centre in Guelph, Ont.
How many other living things are there?
Scientists have catalogued about 1.2 million species, but thats not even close to how many other organisms share Earth, according to a recent study published in the journal PLoS Biology. Researchers figure 91 per cent of those in the ocean havent been identified, while 86 per cent of species above water havent been counted. We may share the planet with around 8.7 million other types of species although the estimates vary wildly and the vast majority are animals, according to scientists.
Dont expect them all to be counted at least not in our lifetimes. Experts figure it would take 1,200 years, 303,000 taxonomists and $364-billion (U.S.) to complete the catalogue.
How many species are endangered?
According to the World Conservation Unions 2012 Red List of Threatened Species, 20,219 species are considered threatened of the 65,518 that have been assessed.
The Swiss-based organization detailed 84 species in Canada deemed threatened, which includes 35 kinds of fish, 16 varieties of birds, 11 types of mammals and five species of reptiles, among others. Among those in trouble in Canada, where considerable conservation efforts are under way, are the whooping crane, greater sage-grouse and Vancouver Island marmot.
How quickly are humans dying off?
Births are outpacing deaths, according to the Population Reference Bureau, which counted 267 births every minute last year compared with 107 deaths per minute.
Whos to blame for climate change?
Humans, according to 97 to 98 per cent of 1,372 of the worlds most active climate researchers, whose findings were reviewed by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States in 2010.
Werent we trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
Governments and industry say they are trying to curb emissions, but according to the World Meteorological Organization, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2011.
The culprits are: carbon dioxide (now 140 per cent of the preindustrial level), methane (now 259 per cent of the preindustrial level) and nitrous oxide (now 120 per cent of the preindustrial level).
Canada, according to various government, industry and non-governmental organization sources, accounts for about 2 per cent of the worlds emissions.
Is it getting hot in here?
The global average temperature has gone up by 0.6 C during the 20th century, according to the World Meteorological Organization, which also noted that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record and on every continent since people began monitoring the mercury in 1850.
How much sea ice has melted?
Arctic sea ice spanned 7 to 9 million square kilometres when it was measured in the summer season up until the 1960s, but according to the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by the end of summer last year, it had shrunk to a record low since satellite record-keeping began, of 3.41 million square kilometres.
What is the most polluted city?
Nyala, Sudan, according to the World Banks World Development Indicators for 2013, which counted 200 micrograms per cubic metre as measured by the concentration of fine suspended particulate of fewer than 10 microns in diameter. Matter that tiny can burrow into the respiratory tract and cause serious negative health consequences.
In second and third place: Maroua, Cameroon, and Dhaka, Bangladesh.
But there is some good news: Air pollution has dropped around the world over the last 20 years to 41 micrograms per cubic metre from 78 micrograms. And in Canada, counts average 15 micrograms per cubic metre.
Who are the most prolific garbage producers?
Canadians toss more trash per capita than any other country in the developed world, according to the Conference Board of Canada, which issued its environmental report card earlier this year 777 kilograms of municipal waste per capita for 2008 (the latest statistics available), which was above the average of 578 kg per capita among 17 peer countries.
Canadians also use nearly twice the average amount of freshwater of the other countries only the United States uses more and are the largest users of energy in the developed world, the report noted.
How many cars and trucks are there?
There were 1.069 billion cars, trucks and buses in operation worldwide in 2011, according to WardsAuto, the U.S.-based data gathering house on the global auto industry.
Canada accounts for 21.3 million of those vehicles.
In its annual collection of government-reported registration and historical vehicle-population trends, WardsAuto counted more than one billion vehicles for the first time in 2010, and the number is expected to keep growing.
According to a 2011 forecast by the International Transport Forum, an OECD intergovernmental think tank, the global vehicle population could reach 2.5 billion by 2050.
How many bicycles?
In 2011, there were an estimated 938,294,671 bicycles rolling around the planet, according to Jay Townley, bike industry analyst with the U.S.-based Gluskin Townley Group. The life of a bicycle is typically 10 years as it stays in the market and is ridden, he added.
Chinas annual market consumption defined as sales by manufacturers, brands and importers to retailers for 2011 is 27.3 million bikes, according his firms estimates.
Canada, meanwhile, had annual market consumption in 2011 of 1.4 million bikes.
Some questions I'm curious about:
1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?
2. Do you support or oppose regulations that protect the environment from harmful business practises?
3. Do you believe in "clean coal"?
4. How do you feel about animal poachers?