Home > Ideas and Philosophy > The Human Footprint: Average Vital Statistics Per Person

The Human Footprint: Average Vital Statistics Per Person

There was a show in the National Geographic Channel entitled "The Human Footprint" which basically visualizes the sum total of each person’s resource consumption in an average lifetime. 
 
The basis used for computing the statistics is someone from Britain.  Obviously this does not represent everybody on the planet, but at least it helps open our eyes to how much our activities, needs and desires impact the use of this planet’s resources in a lifetime.  Check out National Geographic’s web site for more information, and to see what your personal footprint/impact is to the environment at http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/human-footprint/
 
The following are the average vital statistics per person (male or female), with a computed average lifetime of 78.5 years.  Source of the statistics is at http://pilotgcseradicalgeography.co.uk/2007/04/28/the-human-footprint/.
 
 
Food and drink
 
  • Milk: 15,951 pints (9,064.34 liters); to produce this amount of milk for the population, 2.1 million cows are needed, eating 100 kg of grass a day.
  • Meat: 89% will eat meat – 4 head of cattle, 21 sheep, 15 pigs, 1200 chickens and 13,345 eggs.
  • Potatoes: 2,327 kg.
  • Bread: 4,283 loaves.
  • Fruit and Vegetables: 5,272 apples, 10,866 carrots
  • Food packaging: 8.5 tons; 95% of our food is imported.
  • Chocolate: 8.2 kg a year, 10,000 chocolate bars in a lifetime.
  • Baked beans: 845 tin cans.
  • Alcohol: 10,351 pints (5,882.07 liters), 1,694 bottles of wine; 0.7% of the world’s population is drunk at any one time (as in, right now)!
  • Tea: 74,842 cups in a lifetime.
Human waste, waste and sewage
 
  • Wind (Farts): 1 to 1.5 liters of gas a day, 12 – 25 times a day; 35,815 liters in a lifetime!
  • Toilet rolls: 4,239 to cope with 2,865 kg of feces.
  • Sewage: 150 liters per day per person, but also disposed of across the country in a day are 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million sanitary towels, 700,000 panty liners and 270,000 condoms.
  • Nappies (baby diapers): 3,800; 2.5 billion disposed of each year, largest contributor to landfill, takes 500 years to decompose, at age five we will have produced more carbon dioxide than that of a person in Tanzania over their lifetime.
  • Waste: 40 tons of waste sent to landfill sites over a lifetime.
Relationships with others
 
  • Language (English basis):
    • Average vocabulary is 25,000 words, only 4% of the English Oxford Dictionary.
    • We speak on average 4,300 words a day, more for women, less for men; 123,205,740 words in a lifetime.
  • Friends: We will know 1,700 people over a lifetime.  We will have 300 people in our social group at anytime.
  • Partners: 10 different sexual partners, 4,239 times having sex, about 2 times a week!
  • Love: We will fall in love 3 times.
  • Marriage: 11.5 years duration (before breaking up); 70% will attempt a marriage once.
Personal Hygiene
 
  • Baths:
    • 7163 baths in a lifetime, 1 million litres of water
    • we wash our hair 11.500 times in a lifetime
    • shower gel components take 800 years to disappear from the water system.
  • Products used:
    • 656 bars of soap
    • 198 bottles of shampoo
    • 272 deodorants
    • 276 tubes of toothpastes
    • 78 toothbrushes
    • 411 skin care products
    • 37 perfumes
    • 35 tubes of styling gel
    • 25 bottles of nail polish
    • 21 sticks of lipstick
    • 11,00 tampons/sanitary towels
    • 5.6 bottles of fake tan
Wealth and Spending
 
  • Chargeability:
    • £ 1,537,380 spent in a lifetime
    • housing, food and clothing £ 552,772
    • tax £ 286,311
    • leisure and entertainment £ 236,312.
 Consumer goods
 
  • Appliances:
    • 3.5 washing machines
    • 3.4 fridges
    • 3.2 microwaves
    • 4.8 televisions
    • 9.8 DVD players
    • 15 computers.
  • To manufacture a computer (externally, doesn’t reflect their true cost, in relation to the environment):
    • 240 kg of fossil fuels
    • 22 kg of chemicals
    • 1.5 tons of water
  • Gifts: £920 spent per person on the average Christmas; 628 Christmas gifts received over a lifetime.
  • Transportation: 8 cars per person.
Clothing
 

  • Clothing market is worth £ 23 billion in the U.K., £ 385 per year spent on clothes, £ 3,222 spent on clothes over a lifetime.
  • To manufacture clothes: 500 liters of water and 40 g of pesticides needed to produce a t-shirt.
  • Washing: 570 kg of chemicals added to the water system through washing clothes.
Travel
 
  • Walking: 197 miles (317.04 km) walked per year, 15,464 miles (24,886.90 km) in a lifetime.
  • Driving: We will drive 452,662 miles (728,448.87 km) in a lifetime; 135,950 liters of petrol will be need, 737 tons of carbon released into the atmosphere.
  • Trips: 59 foreign holidays.
Information and Culture
 
  • Watching television: 148 minutes a day, 900 hours a year, 2,944 days in a lifetime.
  • Books: 533 books read in a lifetime; 3% can’t read in the U.K., 40% choose not to read, more households own two cars than two novels!
  • Newspapers read: 2,455; 1.5 tons of paper, 24 trees will be used to make the books and newspapers you need.
Religion
 
  • Worship: 6 acts of worship a year, 390 over a lifetime.
Democracy
 
  • Voting: You will vote in fifty elections.
Health
 
  • Cigarettes: 77,000 over a lifetime; 1/3 of all cancers are from smoking.
  • Vomit: 2 times a year, 5 buckets over a lifetime.
  • Checkups: 314 visits to the doctor.
  • Medicine: 30,000 pills in a lifetime.
  • Tears shed: 61.5 litres.
  • Dreams: 104,390 dreams in a lifetime.
Death
 
  • Of the 1,700 people we know:
    • 305 die of heart disease
    • 179 stokes
    • 111 flu and pneumonia
    • 99 from lung cancer
    • 92 from lower respiratory diseases
    • 63 from dementia
    • 49 cancers of the colon
    • 32 from breast cancer
    • 10 from suicide
    • 9 in road accidents
    • 1 in a fire
    • 1 in 3 people will know a person who has been murdered.
How true could all this be?  It’s just an assumed global average based on British statistics anyway.  Well… Let me tell you this: I am one of the "1 in 3 people" in this global average who know someone who has been murdered, and in fact I know not just one but two people who were murdered.  I don’t completely agree with these statistics, but I recognize the possibility of some truth in them. 
 
In any case — it’s a good starting point to think about your personal impact on the planet, and what each of us can do to make our home a greener place for the benefit of future generations.
 
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