Critical Facts About Our Planet: Celebrate Earth Day

DenaApril 21, 2010

Earth Day is tomorrow—Thursday, April 22nd! I am so excited about this and inspired by the amazing & innovative ways that people around the globe are planning to celebrate this important day.

While I believe that Earth Day should be every day, I am still entirely grateful that the human population comes together once each year to celebrate our beautiful Mother Earth. In preparation for the big day I am going to do my very best to motivate you to get involved, too.

I hope that these alarming statistics will light a fire under your ass, my friends. Here we go:

The Facts

· According to the United States EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), emissions from power plants contribute to over 2,800 lung cancer deaths and 38,200 heart attacks annually in the US.

· A recent study from Toronto Public Health estimates over 440 deaths a year in the Canadian city can be directly attributed to traffic emissions.

· According to the World Health Organization, if you are one of the 18 million residents of Cairo, breathing daily air pollution is like smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

If this is what we are doing to our own health, just imagine what we are doing to our planet’s.

· If just one in 10 homes used “Energy Star” qualified appliances, the change would be like planting 1.7 million new acres of trees. That’s like planting 3 new forests!

· Within the United States, 40% of rivers are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life even worse are lakes at 46%.

· Pollution of freshwater (drinking water) is a problem for about half of the world’s population. Each year there are about 250 million cases of water-related diseases, with roughly 5 to 10 million deaths.

· Each year, plastic waste in water and coastal areas kills up to:

100,000 marine mammals
1 million sea birds
countless fish

· In Nigeria 81% of its original forest cover is now permanently lost.

· The tropical rain forests of Brazil are less by 90 – 95%.

· The forests of Central America are down by two-thirds lowlands, since 1950.

· Countries like India, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, the Congo and Ghana have lost much more than 50% of their rain forest cover.

Endangered Species

And now for the part that really breaks my heart…

· The planet is losing species faster than at any time since 65 million years ago, when the earth was hit by an enormous asteroid that wiped out thousands of animals and plants, including the dinosaurs.

· Scientists estimate that the current rate at which species are becoming extinct is between 100 and 1,000 times greater than the normal “background” extinction rate—and say this is all due to human activity.

· 30,000 species were going extinct each year—an extinction rate of about three an hour.

The problem is going to keep getting worse until we do something about it!

Top ten animals on the verge of extinction (according to the World Wildlife Federation):

1. Tiger
2. Polar Bear
3. Pacific Walrus
4. Magellanic Penguin
5. Leatherback Turtle
6. Bluefin Tuna
7. Mountain Gorilla
8. Monarch Butterfly
9. Javan Rhinoceros
10. Giant Panda

· Further research has confirmed that just about every group of animals and plants—from mosses and ferns to palm trees, frogs, and monkeys—is experiencing an unprecedented loss of diversity.

· Scientists estimate that 12 per cent of all birds, 23 per cent of mammals, a quarter of conifers, a third of amphibians and more than half of all palm trees are threatened with imminent extinction.

· Climate change alone could lead to the further extinction of between 15 and 37 per cent of all species by the end of the century.

· There have been five previous mass extinctions in the 3.5 billion-year history of life on earth. All are believed to have been caused by major geophysical events that halted photosynthesis, such as an asteroid collision or the mass eruption of super-volcanoes.

· The present “sixth wave” of extinction began with the migration of modern humans out of Africa about 100,000 years ago. It accelerated with the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago and began to worsen with the development of industry in the 18th century.

What you can do:

1. Educate yourself. There are countless resources out there. Check out to get started. There are countless websites devoted to the topic of conservation. There are environmental groups around the world. The information and the opportunity is there, now go seek it out.

2. Encourage smart agricultural practices. Buy local. Purchase foods that have been sustainably grown and caught. Sustainability is the key to conserving our planet and ensuring that we don’t destroy it completely. We are the consumers. We must start demanding sustainable products from the producers.

3. Reduce urban/suburban runoff of lawn fertilizers and pesticides. If you or anyone you know has a garden, stay away from harmful pesticides and fertilizers. These dangerous substances go directly back into the Earth, contaminating our soil, water, and so on. Using natural gardening techniques is safer for our environment and healthier for you.

4. Drive less. Take public transportation, car pool, or better yet ride a bike or walk. Get creative! It seems like a little thing but it’s actually huge. Making the small and simple changes might be the thing that save us and out planet.

5. Don’t litter. This might seem like an obvious one, but unfortunately for some people, it’s not! I see people tossing cigarette butts out of car windows constantly. This practice alone is taking a huge toll on our planet. Fiber glass from cigarette butts is currently causing unprecedented destruction to ecosystems all over the Earth. It doesn’t take much effort to toss your trash where it belongs. Recycle when ever possible.

Bottom line: Get involved!

Earth Day is only a day away and there are literally tens of thousands of events happening around the world. is a great site that lists events happening all over the place. Click over there and go to the Events tab and put in your zip code. It will let you know what’s happening in your area.

Thanks for reading. Please help me spread this important message!

Only when the last tree has died,
and the last river been poisoned,
and the last fish been caught,
will we realize we cannot eat money.

—Cree Indian Proverb

Comments (2)

  • Mohamed Abdel Samad

    July 3, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Interesting article! Can you please specify the link to the report that mentions that living in Cairo is equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day. I am trying to startup an NGO that raise environmental awareness specifically in the developed world and would like to read the report.

    1. Dena

      July 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks, Mohamed. Please find the article here:


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