Learn about 5 ways the world has changed in the past 100 years.
Without a doubt, humans have dramatically altered various facets of Planet Earth in a matter of centuries. As we mark Earth Day, it's worthwhile to reflect on 5 ways we have changed our planet in the last 100 years.
Number 5 - The world’s population in the year 1913 was about 1.8 billion. In just about a hundred years, the population has ballooned to over 7 billion. The world's largest cities have seen huge population spikes. Case in point, New York City’s current population is estimated to be 8.2 million. In 1913, it was approximately 5 million and a hundred years prior, in 1813, just 70 thousand.
Number 4 - Can you live without your phone, internet access, or tv? Not one of them was available to most people in 1913. It's a different world now. A recent report noted that 6 billion people have access to cell phones today, that's 1.5 billion more than the number of people who have access to clean toilets. While technology has numerous advantages, it also has a dark side. The US alone produces 50 million tons of e-waste every year and majority of it is not disposed off properly.
Number 3 - In 1913, Henry Ford created the first automated assembly line for mass production of the automobile. Estimates show that there were about 1.1 automobiles registered in the US in 1913. In 2010, according to research gathered from Ward’s, the worldwide number of motor vehicles in operation jumped over the 1 billion mark.
Number 2 - Commercial air travel barely existed as the first commercial flight took place in 1914. In 2010, as reported by the US Department of Transportation, “815.3 million scheduled passengers traveled on U.S. airlines and on foreign airlines serving the United States in 2012.”
A commercial jet during a 10-hour international flight burns over 30,000 gallons of fuel.
Number 1 - Human actions over the last 100 years may have impacted the planet's non-human residents more than humans themselves. In 2010, over 17,000 species were deemed vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered by a nature conservation group. Poaching and habitat loss are among the primary reasons. Take for instance, the lion population in Africa. A 2012 study found that the number of lions in the wild has fallen by 68 percent in the past 50 years, from an estimated 100 thousand in 1960, to just 35 thousand presently. On the other hand, some species are thriving due to higher pollutants. In the Chesapeake Bay, super crabs are wreaking havoc on the area's ecosystem. Crabs respond favorably to carbon resulting in them becoming bigger and possibly stronger.