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"[Y]ou will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted..."

Theodore Roosevelt



Introductory Biology for Non-Science Majors

Sustainability Topics



"The earth is a finite place. Whether it is one hundred years or one thousand years from now, eventually we will run out of space to dump waste. Meanwhile, we are polluting our air, water, and soil with landfills and incinerators"1, and wasting resources that could be reclaimed.

  • "The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste."2
  • Americans generate about 4 ½ pounds of waste daily. Large cities produce 10,000 tons of trash each day. About half of the municipal waste generated in the U.S. is buried in landfills3.
  • "Discarded appliances and electronic devices contain ozone-depleting CFCs and toxic metals that contaminate soil and leach into our water sources."4
  • Houston recycles only 2.6% of its total waste, while San Francisco recycles 69%5.


References and Links



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Last updated or reviewed on 8/20/12

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