Conservation Is Not Enough

Compiled by Michael G. Hanauer

February 5, 2001



  • The United States creates approximately 80% of the world's waste.
  • To provide for expanding population (.8%), 5.6m kilowatts at $18b needed per year.
  • A US child consumes 30-40 times the natural resources of a child in the developing world.
  • "Despite 20 years of federally mandated auto-emission controls, tailpipe pollution has continued to rise because there are more cars and thus more traffic on the road".
  • Per capita consumption is up 45%, quality of life index is down by 51% over 20 years
  • 1990 per capita garbage = 4.1 pounds/day; 1960 = 1.6 pounds less with 100m fewer people
  • Even if industrial nations cut CO2 emissions by 65%, in 30 years increasing population will create a net increase of 300%.
  • Growth rate of CO2 to world population over last 25 years correlate to 99.89%.
  • Total energy use has increased an average of 1.1% (oil 1%) each year since 1970 (same rate as population).
  • 93% of US energy use increase (22%) since 1970 can be attributed to population growth. [Prof. John Holden, Chair, Energy and Resource Group, U.Calif. Berkeley.]
  • 43% lower per cap. energy use by 2030 poss, but expect 12% total increase due to added pop.
  • Humans have increased in numbers by 50% over 20 years ago. We now take twice the energy and material and deposit twice the pollution and waste. [Donella Meadows interview]
  • Better economic conditions can cause increase in fertility (eg 1950s) [Virginia Abernethy].
  • United States, with 5 percent of world population:
    • Produces 72% of all hazardous waster and consumes 33% of the world's paper.
    • Produces 21% of CO2 (40,000 pounds per person per year).
    • Burns 25% of world's fossil fuels. [Ehrlich article]
    • Has 33% of the world's autos, 50% miles driven.
    • Uses 25% of world's energy = 1/2 million gallons of oil per minute. = 3 Japanese, 6 Mexicans, 12 Chinese, 33 Indians, 147 Bangladeshis, 422 Ethiopians.
  • Industrialized (developed) world (24 countries with 23% of world population):
    • Consumes 2/3 of all resources, produces 3/4 of all pollutants and wastes
    • Consumes 80% of commercial fuel, 85% of commercial timber,
    • Cons. 81% of world paper, 80% of iron and steel, 86% of aluminum, 75% of energy, 61% of meat
    • Consumes 75% of world's metals. Has 85% of world's GNP.
    • Produces 83% of world's CFCs (ozone depletion)
    • Produces 90% of the 360m metric tons of hazardous waste produced each year, 70% of CO2
  • From 1973-1988, gas per mile down 29%, number cars up 58%, gas consumption up 17% (Winter 1994)
  • Population growth accounted for 40% of the increase since 1960 in carbon dioxide emissions (Winter 1994)


This material is copyrighted, © 1996 Michael G. Hanauer. Reproduction, distribution and use of this document for non-profit, non-commercial use without permission is highly encouraged. The above compilation is an excerpt of an extensive series of statistics and facts. The complete compilation is available at http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~jtownsen/zpg-boston/zappers.html.


Related Internal Links

Letter to my Unborn Child - by Alma Hromic

Biocracy - by Michael W. Stowell

The Resource Base - by Milo Clark

A Reformist View: Business as if the Earth Matters - by Joe Kresse

The Imperial Conservation Crusade - by Gilles d'Aymery

Mesmerized by the Weapons Mystique - by Mac Lawrence (Posted in July 1997, this piece demonstrates once more that we are not learning from the past. At a time when we are again increasing the U.S. military budget, this piece documents how immensely bloated this budget already is.)

The Wilderness Into Which Crying is Silent - by Milo Clark (Posted in September 1996, this piece shows the hypocrisy of conservation efforts through "responsible tourism.")

Do as I say... - by Gilles d'Aymery (Posted in May 1996, this piece shows with some humor the insanities and contradictions of our consumerist policies.)

It's Spring: Time to Drive - by Gilles d'Aymery (Posted in May 1997, this short piece shows the inanity of producing ever more vehicles.)

News Watch - by Gilles d'Aymery (Posted in December 1997, the first paragraph provides a few notes about Global Warming, in particular emission of carbon-dioxide by various countries.)

Useful Guide to Understanding Where All That Stuff Comes From - by Donella Meadows (Posted in April 1998, this book review shows the behind-the-scene of consumption. For instance, you'll learn that the manufacturing of your 55-pound computer generated 139 pounds of waste and used 7,300 gallons of water and 2,300 kilowatt-hours of energy.)

Adam Smith is on Our Side - By Milo Clark (Posted in May 1996, this piece on Adam Smith is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding how incorrectly Smith is depicted in the main media.)



Resources on the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath


Articles Published on Swans Regarding the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath


Published February 5, 2001
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