Greening by Numbers

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

I once read a satirical piece entitled, “The Frustrated Environmentalist” that took a tongue in cheek look at problems associated with greening. According to the piece, a frustrated environmentalist will buy solar panels to save electricity only to have them delivered in non-biodegradable packaging material. Though it was satire, the feature did deliver some truths – you might recycle religiously but still drive a 4x4. It’s easy to feel a sense of despair and that not enough is being done, by governments, corporate entities and civilians alike. Though we might be far off from emission reduction targets the statistics below reveal that some inroads have in fact been made.

41 – according to research, the percentage of Americans interested in greener living. Given that the United States is a major polluter, an inclination towards eco-friendly lifestyles by its citizens is a step forward.

3.7 – the percentage that global organic wine sales increased by in 2009. What is significant about this statistic is that non-organic wine sales increased by two percent.

32 – another percentage figure, this time for the increase in tonnages of plastic being recycled in the past four years.

4800 – the number of people who are employed in industries directly related to recycling plastic.

17 – trees that will be saved from being cut down for each ton of recycled paper.

512 – homes that would be powered by the amount of energy paper recycling saves.

27 000 – according to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, the total number of jobs that his department plan to create in the renewable energy sector.

80 – the percentage of our forests that are by the Forest Stewardship Council. South Africa can be proud of the fact that it’s paper is all produced from managed plantations, not natural forests.

2500 – the number of hours of sunshine South Africa has per year. This figure is important as it shows us just how viable solar power actually is.

70 – percentage of US enterprises that have sustainability as a permanent part of their corporate agendas.

800 – in litres, the amount of water that Eole Water’s wind turbine can produce in a day. This project is still in the testing phase but the results thus far are promising. The wind turbine, situated in the Abu Dhabi desert, is able to condense water from air and stores it in a tank where it can be purified. Marc Parent had the idea when he noticed the amount of condensation that occurred on a hotel air-conditioner.

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