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Facts from The Story of Stuff

• In the past three decades, one-third of the planet’s natural resources base have been consumed.1 • In the United States, we have less than 4% of our originalforests left.2 • Forty percent of waterways in the US have become undrinkable.3 • The U.S.has 5% of the world’s population but consumes 30% of the world’s resources4 and creates 30% of the world’swaste.5 • If everybody consumed at U.S. rates, we would need 3 to 5 planets. • There are over 100,000 synthetic chemicals in commerce today.6 • Only a handful of synthetic chemicals have even beentested for human health impacts and NONE have been tested for synergistic health impacts.7 • In the U.S., industry admits to releasing over 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals a year.8 • The averageU.S. person now consumes twice as much as they did 50 years ago.9 • We each see more advertisements in one year than a people 50 years ago saw in a lifetime.10 • In the U.S. our national happinesspeaked sometime in the 1950s.11 • In the U.S., we spend 3–4 times as many hours shopping as our counterparts in Europe do.12 • Average U.S. house size has doubled since the 1970s.13 • Eachperson in the United States makes 4 1/2 pounds of garbage a day.14 That is twice what we each made thirty years ago.15 • For every one garbage can of waste you put out on the curb, 70 garbage cans ofwaste were made upstream to make the junk in that one garbage can you put out on the curb.16

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www.storyofstuff.com

1 Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism,Little Brown and Company, (1999). Excerpted from page 4: “In the past three decades, one-third of the planet’s resources, its ‘natural wealth,’ has been consumed.” 2 Lester Brown, Michael Renner,Christopher Flavin, Vital Signs 1998, Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C. “Ninety five to ninety eight percent of forests in the continental United States have been logged at least once since...
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