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US Population to Top 300 Million 792

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the won't-just-one-of-them-be-my-bff dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The number of Americans will surpass 300 million this month, a milestone that raises environmental impact questions for the only major industrial nation whose population is increasing substantially. The US census bureau says the 300 million mark will be reached 39 years after US population topped 200 million and 91 years after it exceeded 100 million. That makes US the third most populous country behind china and india. It is noteworthy that sheer number of human beings do not necessarily have the heaviest impact on the environment. Instead environmental impact is a calculation that involves population, affluence and technology. The US consumes nearly 25% of the world's energy though it has only 5% of the world's population and has the highest per capita oil consumption worldwide. Each American produces about 2.3 kg of trash a day, a rate about 5 times that in developing countries."
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US Population to Top 300 Million

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  • Plenty of Room (Score:5, Informative)

    by CrazyTalk (662055) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:39AM (#16303517)
    The population of the US may be increasing, but only in certain desirable areas. The "Rust Belt" - cities like Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh - continues to shrink. Pittsburgh alone has lost over HALF of its population from nearly 700,000 in the 1960s to barely over 300,000 today (and not just due to people leaving for the suburbs). If you're willing to tolerate the winters there's plenty of room up here!
    • Re:Plenty of Room (Score:5, Insightful)

      by paranode (671698) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:51AM (#16303657)
      The population of the US may be increasing, but only in certain desirable areas.


      So the hispanics, whose population growth rate was over triple that of the general population last I checked, are all living in desirable areas?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lowrydr310 (830514)
        Speaking of hispanics, that's why our population is growing so rapidly (not necessarily just hispanics, but immigration in general).

        If the US is as bad as many foreigners make it out to be, then why are so many immigrants moving here?

    • by VJ42 (860241)
      Indeed, I'm from the UK, and we have a population of about 60 million. we're not even the size of America's smallest state. And despite some claims to the contrary, we're not particularly overcrowded, and still have plenty of green and plesant land. The USA could have a population of 600 million, and still not reach the population density we have here; you're far larger than ten times our size.
    • Re:Plenty of Room (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rlp (11898) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:37AM (#16304423)
      For anyone who thinks the US is running out of space - I suggest the following exercise. Take a drive on I-10 westbound through western Texas. The road is arrow straight and goes for miles and miles through NOTHING. No towns, no buildings, no crossroads, nothing. Apart from portions of the east and west coast, the US is not very densely populated. You might say 'Who would want to live out in the desert in the middle of nowhere?' I'd agree with you, but then again, the residents of Vegas might not.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pharmboy (216950)
        Actually, I have lived in west Texas, Kansas and North Dakota as well as many many other states, and found them to be rather nice. (ok, ND was cold as all hell in winter...) Not terribly exciting, and the weather can get extreme, but there are other advantages. Mainly the fact that you can afford land and a home, your neighbors are usually not close enough to hear you sneeze, and the towns are smaller, but the people tend to be nicer, due to a a slower lifestyle. Most things are much less expensive as we
      • Re:Plenty of Room (Score:5, Insightful)

        by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:29AM (#16305311) Homepage Journal
        In fact there may be so little there, that there isn't an underground water supply to sustain a human civilization. There are reasons people tend to live next to rivers, and oceans. They need something to pee into.
    • Re:Plenty of Room (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PMuse (320639) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:22AM (#16305207)
      I have long pondered where under the sun man should live and this answer was revealed to me: God meant for man to live where he can grow grapes.

      It's that simple, really. If the grapes like the climate, so will we. And, if not, at least we will have wine.
  • by gentimjs (930934) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:40AM (#16303531) Journal
    Re: The US consumes nearly 25% of the worlds energy though it has only 5 % of the worlds population and has the highest per capita oil consumption worldwide. Each american produces about 2.3 kg of trash a day, the current rate is about 5 times that in developing countries."

    Just like the last story, cue the anarcho-capitalists who will ask "Would you rather have it any other way?"

    They just dont get it.
    • by Mayhem178 (920970) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:53AM (#16303687)
      Just like the last story, cue the anarcho-capitalists who will ask "Would you rather have it any other way?"

      Yeah, they probably will. But would you rather have it any other way?
    • Trashy Americans? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dareth (47614) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:12AM (#16303975)
      America has a disposable culture. Even things that are made to last for more than one use have a limited lifespan. Things are not engineered to last, and are cheap enough to replace rather than repair. Durable goods used to be things that were expected to be last for at least 10 years. This included cars and refrigerators. Over time the definition of durable goods has changed so that they are only good for 3 years, and only includes cars.

      Even our cars are pretty much designed to fall apart after 3 years of regular use. How can American's not be leaders in producing trash in this kind of environment. Only good note is my mother in the law is a packrat and has not thrown hardly anything away for the last 30+ years. But I guess she is just a minor rounding error on the average.
      • Not necessarily. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Slithe (894946)
        When I look at my mother's house, I can think of several things that have lasted over 10 years (my house for instance). My mom's washer and dryer lasted for at least 14 years before being replaced; her refrigerator may be older than I am (it does not even have an ice maker). The two cars that I have driven (hand-me downs from my grandparents) are a 1993 Toyota Camry (which is on its last legs, sadly) and a 1998 Nissan Altima (which is still in good shape). My mom still uses my first TV (a TV/VCR combo that
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:50AM (#16304639) Homepage Journal
        I don't know where you were, but I think you're vastly overstating the durability of previous-generation automobiles and appliances.

        Cars today are far more reliable than cars were 40 or 50 years ago. You can take pretty much any car today, and expect to get 100,000 miles out of it, properly maintained. This is not just Japanese cars, most domestic cars will last this long too. A whole lot of cars didn't used to have odometers that even went beyond 100k; it was just assumed that it would be scrapped by that point. Plus, they're more efficient, safer, and cost less in real-dollar terms. Not to mention a lower defect rate and less production waste. In short, you get a lot more for your dollar when you purchase a 2006 automobile than its 1956 equivalent.

        Maintainance statistics on refrigerators I don't have as readily, but I'm willing to bet that you're viewing the past with some rose-colored glasses there, too. Most major appliances today will easily last ten years, in fact I'll bet that more of them are thrown away because they're no longer stylish, than because they actually break.

        There are certain legitimate criticisms of the way a lot of mechancial devices are currently designed (sealed units, difficult to repair), however the upshot of this is that they're both more reliable, require less maintainance (when's the last time you had to have the coolant in your fridge topped off?), and far less expensive than they were in the past.

        The reason you don't see very many older cars on American roads is not because they all die, but because we as a whole, don't like to drive them. Rather than driving them until they're actually at the end of their mechanical life, they either get sold to other countries (Mexico imports tons of used cars from the U.S.), or are cut up for parts or scrap rather than being reparied after some non-fatal damage. I suspect that in any major U.S. junkyard, you could very quickly put together enough parts to have a working automobile; it's simply not worth the labor for a skilled mechanic to do so. In other countries, or in the U.S. in the past under different economic conditions, this wouldn't be allowed to happen.

        There are lots of things I'm nostalgic about the past for, but I have no illusions about the strides we've made in product engineering over the interim. That we've taken those engineering gains and used them to create a disposable culture is a social, not technological, problem.
        • by jafac (1449) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:49AM (#16306559) Homepage
          Yeah, 6 of one, half-dozen of the other. . .

          My 1972 Volkswagen, when it was running, had over 200,000 miles on the frame, (maybe 50k on the current engine). On the other hand, I had to tweak the timing or the carb adjustment literally every other week to keep it running smoothly, and adjust the valve clearance pretty much at every oil change (3000 miles - the classic 1600cc Air Cooled VW engine has NO oil filter stock). Yes, I tinkered with it, I've swapped engines, rebuilt engines, swapped transaxles, bolted on some suspension modifications, etc.

          My 2003 Volkswagen. . . I pop the hood for oil changes every 5000 miles. I expect 200,000 miles with no unscheduled maintenance, and given anaecdotes from other Jetta owners, that's not an unreasonable expectation.

          On the third hand - if something DID go wrong with the 2003 VW, I'd pretty much have to take it to a shop. I own a nice set of tools, a timing light, tach/dwell meter, even a bore kit for carb jets, compression tester, and I have rebuilt the 34-pict carb blindfolded (as an exercise). But I couldn't even begin to troubleshoot a complex fuel-injection timing or turbocharger problem with the 2003 VW. Even if I had the necessary manuals, I don't have the experience or the equipment. And I would expect the equipment to run north of $10k. (though the VAG-COM serial cable and software is pretty slick - that's the exception in the industry today, not the rule).

          So I'm somewhat "on the fence" as to whether I'm better off with today's cars.
          Definately, when one takes into account, safety features - air bags, crumple-zones, antilock brakes, more advanced suspension designs, etc. And the lower-maintenance factor is mighty convenient. But the inability to DIY (partially caused by emissions regulations - partially by IP-law profiteering) is a big minus.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fahrbot-bot (874524)
          Maintainance statistics on refrigerators I don't have as readily, .... Most major appliances today will easily last ten years, in fact I'll bet that more of them are thrown away because they're no longer stylish, than because they actually break.

          Or, in the case of refrigerators, replaced after 10 years as a general recommendation because newer models are (or can be) vastly more efficient.

        • by sootman (158191) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @12:07PM (#16306911) Homepage Journal
          I agree that cars of today are worlds better than old ones but I think most appliances have gone downhill. My parents just got rid of the washer & dryer they purchased with their house in 1967. My wife and I just bought a new washer and dryer to replace units that were just over 10 years old. The dishwasher they bought in the early 1980s still works; our newer one died two years ago. Its replacement didn't wash dishes as well, so we replaced it with a more expensive unit (which, I'll admit, is very quiet.) I can't tell you how many toasters, microwaves, etc. we've gone through. They just get smaller, lighter, and flimsier. I'm sure they're move efficient and cost less to produce and ship (by dint of being lighter) but I'd rather trade a little efficiency for 2-3x the lifespan (and with that, less-used landfills) and some user-serviceable parts.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by russotto (537200)
        I call bullshit. Cars are getting MORE durable, not less. The average age of the auto fleet is going _up_. The average age (not lifespan) of a car in 2005 was 9 years, not 3. The average lifespan of a refrigerator recycled in 1997 was over 21 years, a washing machine over 20 years.

        Yes, a lot of people get a new car every 3 years. But they don't trash the previous one. They trade it in, return it to the leasing company, or re-sell it.
  • huh (Score:2, Insightful)

    Maybe if we adopted stringent population controls like china did, we'd be better off.

    I wonder what would happen if China decided to relax those controls, I'm relatively sure the population would explode and almost double within a decade.
    • Re:huh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tdemark (512406) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:45AM (#16303601) Homepage
      Maybe if we adopted stringent population controls like china did, we'd be better off.

      Except, according to TFA, a full 40% of the US population growth is due to immigration (legal and illegal).

      - Tony
    • I'll give you a few minutes to look up the relevant section of Article I that allows the government to do that. Go ahead, we'll wait right here.
    • Maybe if we adopted stringent population controls like china did, we'd be better off.

      Maybe if China was more like the US, they'd be better off.

      Of course, China *HAS* to adopt strict population controls, because of all those people from the neighboring companies constantly crashing their borders to sneak into China for the better life it offers them there.

      Oh, wait...
  • by VampireByte (447578) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:41AM (#16303551) Homepage
    Americans aren't pumping out puppies, it's that we welcome people looking for a better life. So lay off the environmental left wing crap, those people would be somewhere creating pollution.
    • by tygerstripes (832644) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:45AM (#16303597)
      we welcome people looking for a better life
      ...which is rather cruelly misleading on your part. Unsporting, I say.
    • by Malc (1751) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:04AM (#16303835)
      They wouldn't be producing so much pollution though, would they? I would be that on average, most 1st generation immigrants consume below the national average. Either through habits developed in their birth culture, or because immigrant's tend to be poorer (yes, I'm a highly paid immigrant, but immigration is costly and leaves you without networking to find jobs. BTW, I'm not an economic migrant as I came from a country with comparable standards of living and salaries).
    • Americans aren't pumping out puppies

      Hey now, that's a discussion for a whole other type of website.
    • ah but.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jjn1056 (85209)
      Sorry, the US gov't is far from welcoming the tired, poor and huddled masses anymore. Now, I'm a US citizen and I love my country despite so many of our mistakes and troubles, but legal immigration to the US is a nightmarish hassle. I know for a fact since my wife, who is a Chinese national, has been doing the immigration dance since March of 2006. It takes a lot of time and money (poor or even average income people from third world countries can just forget it). Also they put you through a series of hu
      • You believed that? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:20AM (#16305167) Homepage Journal
        the US gov't is far from welcoming the tired, poor and huddled masses anymore.

        And we never did.

        The whole "give us your tired, your sick" crap was just that, crap. The U.S. has never been particularly interested in taking refugees; exceptions to this are just that -- exceptions -- and not the rule.

        I don't know what drives this constant temptation to embellish the past, but it wasn't this wonderful place of sunshine and light. Most of the people who were allowed to immigrate into the United States throughout its history weren't allowed in out of some sort of self-righteous pity, but because they were needed in order to meet the demand for labor. Lots of sick people got sent right back on the boats they came over on, and even if you were young and healthy, you still had to have someone willing to vouch for you here in the States before you were allowed in.

        We need to stop deluding ourselves about our past immigration policies. While they may have ended up being more liberal than the rest of the Western world's at the time, that was only because Europe had more people than it knew what to do with, and the U.S. was starved for labor and people to tame the new lands it was in the midst of acquiring. As a nation we needed more people, and as a result we became more welcoming; the latter was a response to the former, not the other way around.

        The needs of the United States have always been the driving force in our immigration policy historically; if it worked out well for the immigrants then all the better for them. It's mostly after the fact that people have congratulated themselves for being so high-minded.

        Now it's disappointing to me as an American that our immigration process wasn't easier for your wife, who I am assuming is probably educated and employable -- in short, exactly the type of people we need to be encouraging to come here. However, I don't think that as a nation we should be guilt-tripping ourselves into rolling out a red carpet to everyone who needs a place to live, particularly to those without skills, for whom there is little demand today and less so in the future; we have never engaged in this historically, and there's no reason to start now.
  • by SniperClops (776236) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:42AM (#16303553)
    Asia has too many, Europe has a decreasing population, America is just right. Whats your secret?
  • Already??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by tygerstripes (832644) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:42AM (#16303557)
    Shit! Quick, go to a school and start a killing spree! It's the only way to keep this thing under control.
  • by GfxGeek (994243) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:45AM (#16303605)
    "The US consumes nearly 25% of the worlds energy though it has only 5 % of the worlds population..." We can do better than that. Thanks to ATI / nVidia and their 1.21 gigawatt next gen GPUs, I'm confident we can shatter this number by next year.
  • Not so bad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by halivar (535827) <bfelger.gmail@com> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:51AM (#16303655) Homepage
    You'd think, that as the third-most populated country and first in consumerism that we'd be sucking up everyone else's resources. For oil, yes. But not for everything. According to the Foreign Agricultural Service:

    How much of its agricultural products does the United States export?
    American farmers export 45 percent of their wheat, 34 percent of their soybeans, 71 percent of their almonds, and more than 60 percent of their sunflower oil.

    For many food products, U.S. producers are among the lowest cost producers in the world.

    So, while we do, in fact, have a large global consumer footprint, we still, as a nation of plenty, have to capacity to contribute back resources.
    • Re:Not so bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ruliz Galaxor (568498) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:04AM (#16303839)
      But do you also know where the American agricultural products are exported to? Do you know how many Africans cant sell their agricultural products, because of the low priced (with subsidies!) American products?
    • Re:Not so bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tygerstripes (832644) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:07AM (#16303889)
      Jesus, all the numbers and none of the context.

      How much of that low-cost is due to subsidising? How does the US stack up against developing countries pre-subsidy? I'd like a figure please.

      More to the point, do you have any idea what impact subsidising your food exports has on the global economy? Specifically, have you got a clue just how badly fucked the third-world, agriculture-based economies are thanks to your heroic efforts to get rid of this food that your farmers are overproducing so they can reap the benefits of such a heavily manipulated market?

      You may not be sucking up other nations' resources in this regard, but you are destroying their ability to be economically profitable and competitive. The thing is, economically speaking it doesn't make much difference to the US - just a few less wasted fields here or there, a marginally improved national deficit figure - but to the countries who rely on food export to maintain any kind of currency in the global market, it is everything. Still, as long as nothing inconveniences the honest 'Merkin, yes?

  • This is old news. We're talking cover story on news magazines two weeks ago old.
  • by Demon-Xanth (100910) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:54AM (#16303711)
    A large part of the growth of the US population is from the large amount of immigration the US has, both legal and not legal. Also, the OP stated that they compared the per capita usage to developing countries, not industrialized countries. It sounds like someone's cherry picking stats to make it sound bigger than it is.
    • by radtea (464814) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:17AM (#16304053)
      It sounds like someone's cherry picking stats to make it sound bigger than it is.

      This isn't cherry picking. The point is that the developed world has a resource usage pattern that is globally unsustainable. As the largest developed country in the world the U.S. is actually in a position to do something about this, and in fact actually are doing something about it at the state and local level, although the federal government leaves something to be desired in this regard.

      There are more wasteful countries in the developed world, notably your smug neighbour to the north: Canadians are one of the few peoples on Earth who are even more wasteful than Americans, and our only saving grace is that there are so few of us in such a large amount of empty space that we don't in aggregate have such a large impact on the plant. Conversely, things don't improve so much globally when we clean up our act. But when America goes green, the weight of 5% of the world's population comes off the planet's shoulders.

      There was some guy once who said something about treating others with the same love you give to yourself, and another guy around the same time who said something about not doing to other people what you do not want them to do to you. "Using up the world's non-renewable resources and treating the planet as our personal garbage can" is probably something that most of us would rather not see other people doing, and so it probably behooves us to not do so ourselves.
  • by Malc (1751) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:56AM (#16303737)
    "The number of Americans will surpass 300 million this month, a milestone [...] for the only major industrial nation whose population is increasing substantially"

    Wrong! Canada (member of the G8, so technically a major industrial nation, even though a little over a tenth the size of the US) is increasing in size faster. More new immigrants settle in Greater Toronto Area every year than any other N. American city, including LA and Miami. Since I first came to Canada 10 years ago, I've seem the population grow from 28 million to 32. The last government was trying to increase the inflow of immigrants. Yes, it's easier to have a higher growth rates on lower numbers, but the impact on things like services (medical, roads, education, etc) and the enviroment are still proportionally higher.
    • by Iamthefallen (523816) * <Gmail name: Iamthefallen> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:21AM (#16305185) Homepage Journal
      Since I first came to Canada 10 years ago, I've seem the population grow from 28 million to 32.

      Yeah, but 4 million Canadian is only like 1.3 million American.
  • by refriedchicken (961967) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:56AM (#16303739)
    go to war with China (those bastages are taking all the oil we need), we need to increase population to catch up to them...It is all part of the administration's master plan for when Jeb becomes president.
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:57AM (#16303743)
    I found this US Census page [census.gov], but I can't find the "live" moving clock. It seems, to me at least, that a 1% yearly growth in population isn't really anything to be alarmed about. In fact, if you look at population density [wikipedia.org], our population density is less than average: 31 people per km compared to the world average of 48 km. That's less than 10% of the density in Japan or India. Some European countries are way up there as well. Germany and the UK both have more than 200 people per km. Even without Alaska, we're still only at about 37 people per km.

    If we had Germany's population density, the US would have 2.2 billion people (and still only about 400 interested in the World Cup).

    The question isn't about density, as it is about resources and the ecological footprint that Americans have. We're terribly, awfully wasteful. If we all became more conscious about resource use, in twenty years, even with 360 million people, we could use less resources then than we use today. At that point, the economic benefits of population (and immigration) outweigh the other costs.

    I'd be a lot more worried if we've maxed out our resource use efficiency and there was simply no way to improve. No, we've got a lot of improvements we can do. If we follow through with them, US population growth won't be a problem in the next century.

  • Is there any class of people other than Slashdot editors that doesn't recognize "buereau" as a mispelling? I mean, misspelling.
  • Perspective (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rob Kaper (5960) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:01AM (#16303801) Homepage
    The 5-25% phrase bugs me. It's designed to make the US look wasteful while that's definitely not the case.

    According to Angus Maddison's [url=http://www.ggdc.net/maddison/Historical_Stati stics/horizontal-file_2006.xls]world population and GDP .xls[/url], the US GDP is 8.2 billion and the world's 38.9 billion. So the US accounts for 21% of global economical output using 25% of energy resources. That's below average and something to think about, but it definitely puts a different perspective on matters.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Electric Eye (5518)
      You're actually *disputing* that people in the US are incredibly wasteful? You can't be serious.
  • Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anon-Admin (443764) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:14AM (#16303999) Homepage Journal
    That is odd the current projections by the UN's Population Division, based on the 2004 revision of the World Population Prospects database shows that the population of the world is decreasing and this one claims that the US population is increasing.

    Seems that while we have fewer people in the world, those that are born head to the US.

    Source [wikipedia.org]

    You may also note the US population growth rate @ 0.91% [cia.gov]

    Oh and as to the oil usage, So what! Look at what we give the world back for the oil we use.

    agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn), industrial supplies (organic chemicals), capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment), and consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) (In order of quantity)
  • by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:33AM (#16304347)
    The US consumes nearly 25% of the worlds energy though it has only 5 % of the worlds population and has the highest per capita oil consumption worldwide.

    I really doubt that's true. Not that 25% of the world's energy use takes place in America, but that a good energy accounting system would assign all that use to Americans.

    Say what?

    What I mean is, America uses more energy per capita in a simple account, but think about what we're using that energy for. At least some of it is going toward production of goods & services for export. Should the energy used to manufacture and ship a computer be assigned to us, or to whoever buys it in another country? I think the latter.

    Even taking that into account, I would guess that we still use more per capita. But not 5x as much.
  • Per Capita Oil Usage (Score:5, Informative)

    by ev0l (87708) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:51AM (#16304657)
    According to Nation Master [nationmaster.com], who gets there information from the CIA fact book, the USA is 17th in oil consumption per capita.

    Interesting to note: Luxembourg is number 7 and most of the largest consumers per capita are Island Nations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by greppling (601175)
      Thanks, this is finally a meaningful comparison. US at 0.677 barrels per day per 10 p, Netherlands 0.561, France 0.34 and Germany 0.325. Is this a fair comparison? Certainly not, as the lower population density of the US just makes driving more often necessary. Still, I would claim energy efficiency just isn't enough of a priority yet in the US. SUVs, bad house insulations, over-eager air-conditioning,... The good news is that there is low-hanging fruit to improve on, and that examples in Europe show that
  • by giafly (926567) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:51AM (#16304661)
    That's about 22 million American tons [wikipedia.org] of people [about.com]. If you're checking my math, remember to allow for kids.

    Look up your own satirical comparison here [google.co.uk], for example New York alone allegedly produces that much waste anually [homestead.com].
  • no spin needed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PMuse (320639) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:12AM (#16305033)
    What an artfully cherry-picked bunch of statistics!

    That makes US the third most populous country behind china and india.
    True, as far as it goes, but those countries are 3-4 times larger.

    Instead environmental impact is a calculation that involves population, affluence and technology.
    Population density is worth at least a mention, no?

    Each american produces about 2.3 kg of trash a day, the current rate is about 5 times that in developing countries.
    Since the US produces more waste per person than any country in the world, why set up the comparison against developing countries? The US produces more than twice the trash per person of the more efficient industrialized nations. Isn't that trouble enough?

    US environmental impact is an important problem that shouldn't be undermined by spinning the statistics. The reality of the problem is more than bad enough.
  • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:36AM (#16305383)
    Each american produces about 2.3 kg of trash a day, the current rate is about 5 times that in developing countries.

    What is the multiplication factor if you count corpses in developing countries as trash?

  • by gillbates (106458) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:21AM (#16306133) Homepage Journal
    We're Americans, we measure our trash output in pounds, not kilograms. The metric system is for those snooty Europeans.

Measure twice, cut once.

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