Human Foot Print

Journey of a Life Time

The life time carbon footprint of an average American exceeds 20 tonnes*. If each person’s carbon dioxide emission were made into a solid mass of carbon, it would be 1,540 tons and we would need 40 trucks to carry it. This is 5 times more than a Frenchman and 20 times more than a person living in India. (*Atonne, also known as a metric ton, is a unit of mass equaling 1,000 kilograms, which equals 1.10231 tons.)

The following is a chart of what an U.S. citizen produces or consumes in an average lifetime of 77.9 years based on facts and figures excerpted from National Geographic Channel video – “Human Footprint”.

 Item Lifetime Resource used
Diapers – based on a child using for 2.5 years 4/day; 1518/year; 3796/child/lifetime Takes 1898 pints (897.7 litres or 237.25 gallons) of crude oil for plastic water proof lining, 715 lbs. of plastic, uses pulp of 4.5 trees for the fluffy padding, just to keep one American toddler tidy.
18 billion disposable diapers thrown out every year. If placed end to end could stretch around the world 90 times. The diapers long outlives us, they take 500 yrs. to biodegrade, much longer for plastic.
Reusable diaper   Need 22,455 gallons of water to clean them. This is enough drinking water to quench the thirst of an average person for 93 years.
By its first year an American toddler will have generated more carbon dioxide emission than an average person in Tanzania will generate in a lifetime.
Computers 15 Over 574 million sold worldwide every year, at least 100 million to Americans. It takes a wide range of materials and resources to make each one of them.To make a single desktop, it requires at least 530 lbs. of fossil fuels, 48 lbs. of assorted chemicals and over 1.7 tons of water used in production.
Homes Average American moves 10 times in a lifetime. Needs more than 64 trees to supply all wood in an average home. (2000 sq. foot house uses 13,837 ft. of lumber to stretch across Brooklyn Bridge and back again.)11,500 sq. feet of siding enough to cover 4 tennis courts, 17 tons of concrete, 5,500 sq. feet of interior raw mat, wood paneling and insulation, 400 lbs. of copper, 30 gallons of paint
Cars 12 5% of world’s population has 30% of car population of the world.
Clothes Average American throws away in weight – 68 lbs. of clothing and textiles each year. Takes 528 gallons of water, 1/3 lb. of chemicals along with cotton to make one t-shirt; logs 14,625 air miles from USA to China and back just to get components to factory and T-shirt back to you. An average pair of Jeans has travelled 20,000 miles before you even put it on.
Sneakers   Leather from Texas, tanned in South Korea, stitched in Indonesia, before they are out of box they would have travelled 20,000 miles using up resources and increasing weight of the footprints.
Laundry Average American generates 500 pounds of dirty laundry every year. 45 billion loads of laundry across the country, 1,100 loads started every sec. and all those loads use 560 billion gallons of water equal to amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls every 11 days.
Showers/lifetime 28,433 times/ lifetime uses 700,000 gallons of water
Other water use; water lawns, wash cars, fill kitchen sink, flush toilets   1,277 million gallons of water in a life time. (same as keeping the tap running continuously for 62 weeks.)
Watching TV 4 hrs. /day adding up all that amounts to 12.5 years spent in front of tube in a lifetime Consumes 22,000 kilowatts of electricity – enough to power a light bulb for 43 years.
Reading (books, magazines, newspapers) Average American reads 6 books/ year; 412 books/lifetime and over 5,054 newspapers/lifetime 43 trees/person to read all the newspapers in lifetime.191 million trees for making all the papers for one yearCutting down these trees means 365,500 tons of CO2 released into atmosphere each year instead of trees absorbing carbon to create oxygen.1,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day just to read a newspaper
Driving habits Each driver averages 11,000 miles/year; 62,7000 miles over a life time or 25 times around the world and on that journey we use 31,350 gallons of gasoline. Americans use a quarter of all oil consumption; half of that used to fuel all our cars which equals 10.5 million barrels of oil everyday.
Gasoline 31,350 gallons per/person in a lifetime; enough to fill 3 big oil tankers Gasoline creates 6 tons of carbon emissions a year. Over a driving lifetime this amounts to 360 tonnes each.
Flying In the U.S> there are more domestic flights than in any place on earth. At any given time there are 5,000 airplanes crossing the country.At Atlanta Airport 2,685 planes take of or land every day, 1 plane lands or takes off every 2 seconds. The vapor trail forms heat trapping clouds allowing excessive CO2 to build up in our atmosphere.A single trip from Seoul to Washington DC produces 3.5 tonnes of carbon emissions. It takes 6 months of car driving to generate this amount of carbon emissions.
Just the vehicles alone create a carbon footprint that is equal to that of many nations put together.  Using hybrid vehicles – it would be possible to cut emissions by a third.
Waste and packaging thrown out from just food alone
Plastic thrown out/ person in lifetime 29,700 lbs.; about 15 tons  
Aluminum thrown out/person in lifetime; mostly soda cans 43,371 cans of soda/ lifetime  
Other Waste
Sewage system 20 gallons/per person/day5675,75 gallons/lifetime  
Waste to landfills 5.3 lbs./day; 160 lbs./month; a ton/yearEach of us sends 64 tons of waste to landfills /lifetime, i.e. 4 garbage truck filled to the brim. Every second 694 plastic bottles are sent to landfills11 million glass bottles and jars sent every day, (that is equivalent to 440 Titanics or 30 Empire State Buildings)Another 100 million aluminum and steel cans everyday, 36 billion cans thrown out every year. Enough to build a roof over New York every day.


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