The world would be surprisingly different if everyone was a little more "green-minded."
It's well-known that humans have negatively impacted the planet Earth, including CO2 emissions that have caused problems for the ozone layer and contributed to climate change, but what about the other unseen ways in which humans have harmed the planet?
For the most part, landfills and deforestation are things people don't worry about in their day-to-day living, but when closer attention is paid, these two make up a huge part of the planet's problem.
Luckily, The Earth Day Network provides a helpful means of looking at your ecological footprint on the planet, or in other words, how much damage you may be causing Earth. But what about the other ways humans are harming the planet?
- 900 Million Trees - Every year about 900 million trees are cut down for paper-making purposes, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Just imagine if that number itself was cut in half. There'd be a lot more oxygen to breath, that's for sure.
- 28 Billion Bottles - Around 28 billion bottles don't get recycled each year, meaning that a majority of the U.S. landfills are still filled with a massive amount of plastic.
- 15 Years Old - It takes a 15-year-old tree to make 700 grocery bags. So next time you're grocery shopping, think about the young sapling whose sole purpose wasn't providing clean oxygen, but instead was to ensure you got your groceries home. Which is more important?
- 200 Million Tons Of Garbage - Americans as a whole make around 200 million tons of garbage each year, on average. Imagine how much you're contributing to that over your lifetime.
- 25 Billion Cups - Around 25 billion cups are used and disposed of in the U.S. each year, meaning around 9.4 million trees had to be cut down. The worst part, after the cups are used, they lead to about 363 pounds of waste going unrecycled.
- 8,000 Dirty Diapers - The average American baby goes through about 8,000 diapers in their infancy. Those diapers usually end up in landfills, where they stay for centuries. Think about it: American babies, the newest comers to this planet, are already contributing to centuries of waste.
- 128 Million Commutes - With vehicle engines generating about six pounds of CO2 and around 128 million people commuting to work each day, 768 million pounds of CO2 could be removed from the ozone if everyone stayed home for one complete day.
As evidenced above, the effects of human nature on mother nature are far-reaching and extremely harmful to the planet we share. Luckily, there are ways to curb your ecological footprint, starting with some resolutions you can make right now! Do your part to ensure the planet stays green.
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Shawn Thomas is a Web Producer for CBS Local. Follow him on Twitter.
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