70 Environmental Facts in 2023 (Vegan, Science, Scary Facts, Positive Facts)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Carbon Offsets Credits | March 29, 2023

Man and boy crouch by a river with a fishing pole, while behind hem cattle graze on a farm and in the distance factory smokestacks belch smoke as a thunderstorm sends down lightning and a volcano is about to erupt outlining scary environmental facts and environmental fun facts.

Environmental facts are both numerous and constantly fluctuating when new information is presented.

Essentially, the data is fluid and changes annually as scientists continue to explore the diversity and complexity of our planet.

But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t educate yourself on the current ones…

From the depths of the oceans to detailed images from space, knowing these facts can help you make informed decisions that lower your carbon footprint and create sustainable lifestyles that benefit the entire community.

The following 70 environmental facts are designed to make you think. Some are scary, some are based on lifestyles and some show the positive strides the planet is making to control and reverse the damage.

Interesting Environmental Facts (“Did U Know” Facts About the Environment)

#1. The Ocean Voyages Institute deployed a cargo ship to collect waste in the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and the ship (the KWAI) has just docked after collecting and removing 96 tons of plastic garbage!7

#2. The planet is five billion years old and hosts one million species.

#3. Fungi digest minerals from rocks and clean up fossil fuel spills. They even assist in de-radiating the environment.

#4. Ants weigh more than humans. The total weight of ants living on the planet is more than that of all humans.

#5. The planet hosts over seven billion people but more than one hundred trillion ants.

#6. Humans today consume the same water the dinosaurs drank. The water amount on earth is always the same and is being recycled by weather patterns.

Related Reading: How many pieces of paper in a tree?

Environmental Science Facts (Facts About Environmental Science)1

#7. Humans have added 2.3 trillion tons of emissions in the last 160 years.

#8. Fifty percent of the gas has been added in the last 50 years.

#9. In the last decade, the hottest  years in history have been recorded.

#10. Housing and transportation count for 60 percent of the U.S carbon footprint.

#11. Most CO2 emissions come from China, Japan, the U.S. India, the EU, Russia, and Canada.

Related Reading: How to reduce the carbon footprint of your air conditioner

#12. The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)​​​​​​​ in 2018 was over 400 ppm.

Environmental Engineering Facts3

#13. Leo O’Donovan created post-consumer composting in 2020. pre-consumer composting has been around for 11 years.

#14. Georgetown reduced its carbon footprint by almost three quarters.

#15. The university accomplished it by employing alternative fuels including electric golf carts and biodiesel buses.

#16. The university boasts four green roofs that are home to local pollinators and increase the efficiency of cooling and heating of the structures they inhabit.

Related Reading: How many trees are in the world?

Facts About Environmental Issues2

#17. Google Earth set out to map the air pollution per city block in Oakland, California.11 Doing so offered communities valuable data previously not even provided by the government.

#18. Six million people reside in areas that could be impacted by rising sea levels.

#19. Low-income, and minority communities have considerably fewer parks and trees than others.

#20. In 2015, 54 million people in the U.S had little or no access to supermarkets because of poor transportation and the uneven selection of supermarkets compared to affluent areas. The phenomenon is also known as Food Deserts.

Related Reading: How many trees are planted each year?

#21. Native Americans face food shortages because of climate change.

#22. Children living by freeways experience some breathing issues. Many are prone to asthma and other health problems.

Vegan Environmental Facts4

#23. Anyone who lives on a vegan diet emits 50 percent less CO2 than a person who eats meat and uses 90 percent less oil, water, and land. Veganism is an effective way of reducing carbon emissions.


#24. Environmental vegetarianism is motivated by the need to support a sustainable diet without the need for meat and its negative environmental impact. The raising of livestock is responsible for 19 percent of CO2 global emissions.

#25. More and more citizens are discovering the benefits a vegetarian and vegan diet has on our personal health, the health of the animals, and the wellbeing of the planet.

#26. The data regarding how much water is needed in beef production ranges from 440 to a massive 7,000 gallons.

Related Reading: How many Christmas trees per acre?

#27. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of ocean pollution and a great contributor to the extinction of species. Fertilizers used in growing crops for livestock feed poison rivers, streams, and the oceans.

#28. Forests are logged and burnt to facilitate land to grow feed crops or graze animals. Indigenous wildlife is often killed and goes extinct.

#29. Over-fishing by commercial fishing boats is destructive. Human-controlled marine environments are deteriorating at an alarming rate at the expense of the accelerating loss of marine species. The consequences have yet to be defined.

#30. A bird welfare report studied the impact of urbanization, climate change, and intensive farming on wildlife and concluded that Britain is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

#31. The worldwide cow population produces 145 billion gallons of methane every day.

#32. Methane, another greenhouse gas, has far more negative impacts than CO2, with stats concluding it’s ninety times more potent when emitted by cattle, an alarming rate that should concern all governments.

#33. Methane doesn’t stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide but it absorbs heat at 80 times the rate of carbon dioxide.

Environmental Fun Facts

#34. The world’s oldest trees are located in the US, the Bristlecone pines.

#35. Paper from trees can be recycled and reused about six times, after that the fibers lose their ability to stick together.

Facts about Environmental Issues

It’s no secret that many environmental issues concern waste generation and ways to combat it since waste not only pollutes the oceans and waterways, but also contributes to methane generation from landfills.

Related Reading: How many trees dose it take to build a house?

Interesting Facts About Conservation and Biodiversity

#36. The planet’s indigenous population is only five percent of the world’s population but protects 75 percent of the planet’s biodiversity.

#37. About 19 percent of the planet’s oxygen comes from the Amazon rainforest, where two percent of tree species sequester 45 percent of the area’s carbon. The rainforest has 15 thousand tree species that constitute 390 billion trees that sequester about 130 billion metric tons of CO2.


#38. Forests shelter 48 million indigenous people worldwide, a population larger than Mexico City, Tokyo, London, Cairo, and NYC combined.

#39. Soil isn’t just dirt. It’s alive with organisms. One palm-full of healthy soil has billions of microorganisms essential to storing gasses, retaining nutrients, and the healthy growth of plants.

Facts About Plastic10

#40. The US consumes over 100 billion plastic bags annually. To create them, it takes 12 million barrels of oil.

#41. Denmark uses an average of four plastic bags per person, annually.

#42. One-third of dead Leatherback sea turtles have plastics in their systems.

Facts About Waste3

#43. One-quarter of bottled water sold commercially is municipal tap water.

#44. Agriculture uses 68 percent of the global freshwater supply. In developing countries, consumption rises to 90 percent.

#45. The US constitutes 5 percent of the world population yet, in one week, discards enough plastic bottles to encircle the planet five times.

#46. An average supermarket uses 60 million paper and plastic bags annually.

Related Reading: How many tees are in the United States?

#47. A discarded glass bottle takes 3500 years to decompose.

#48. The U.S. produces more trash than any country on earth. One person averages 1600 pounds annually, which amounts to 39 percent of global waste. We discard two billion plastic razors, 1.5 million tons of paper towels, and 11 billion diapers annually.

#49. An average college student contributes 630 pounds of waste each year, which includes 490 disposable cups and 300 pounds of paper.

#50. The US consumes 9500 gallons of petrol every second. That results in 200,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.9

#51. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice as large as the U.S. It stores 102 million tons of waste from Japan to CA.

#52. Americans discard 24 trillion Styrofoam cups annually.

#53. Paper and wood wasted in one year can heat 45 million homes for twenty years.

#54. Americans discard 2.4 million plastic bottles every hour.

Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Environmental Facts8

#55. Close to 37,000 trees are logged every day to make toilet paper,5 which amounts to 10 million trees a year.

#56. Paper towels can’t be recycled (they’re created from recycled materials) so they end up in landfills.

#57. In the United States, every year, 6.5 million tons of paper towels are added to landfills.

Scary Environmental Facts

#58. One hundred acres of rainforests are logged every minute. If this practice keeps going, the world’s rainforests will disappear by the end of the century.

#59. Less than 4 percent of U.S. forests are still intact. The rest have been logged for fuel and construction. Some of the oldest trees, some 4500 years old, grow in the US.

#60. One tree can produce up to 20,000 sheets of paper.

#61. Beef cultivation uses 30 times more grazing land when compared to chickens and pigs. Commercial cattle have eviscerated forests and converted 20 percent of global pastures into deserts.

Positive Environmental Facts

#62. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to operate a television for three hours.

#63. The hole in the ozone is 22 million square miles but is predicted to be repaired by 2070 because of the global ban on chlorofluorocarbon and hydrofluorocarbon.6

#64. The Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance is made up of twenty cities worldwide that have the common goal of eliminating at least 75 percent of their CO2 emissions by 2045.

#65. A plastic bag is functional for about 10 minutes but will pollute landfills for millennia until it decomposes.

#66. Almost 87 percent of the power used to operate a washing machine during its cleaning cycle is expended on heating water. Using the cold setting is best.

#67. Lighting homes and business takes 14 percent of the planet’s electricity. LEDs reduce energy consumption by 85 percent and last much longer when employing incandescent lights.

#68. The European Union has outlawed seven types of commonly used single-use plastics, which include straws, plates, and cutlery.

#69. Agricultural pollution can be cut by 65 percent by eating a vegan diet and by 60 percent when eating a vegetarian diet.

#70. Germany has the best recycling industry worldwide, with Wales, South Korea, and Austria close behind.

The good news is that daily and incremental actions truly do add up to change environmental facts and dynamics. There are numerous options that governments, corporations, and individuals can exercise the reduction of their CO2 emissions and mitigate climate change.

Energy-efficient light bulbs, recycling and composting, using public transportation, buying green power, and cycling/walking rather than driving all make a difference in reducing a household’s carbon footprint.

Moreover, carbon offset tree planting strategies can reduce the emissions being generated right now. Some of the best carbon offset programs, like the 51st Earth Day Carbon Offset Membership, are designed to plant as many native tree species as possible in order to rebuild forests that were cleared decades ago.

Knowing environmental facts can help you be more aware of the ways you can help and increase sustainability in your lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions About Environmental Facts

Why Is Sustainability Important?

Sustainability is crucial because it presents the only way we can maintain our human life quality, species diversity on earth, and our ecosystems.

What Does Sustainability Mean?

Sustainability is the ability of a lifestyle, an ecosystem, and a community to sustain itself while respecting its environment.

What Is Climate?

Climate is the average weather pattern over decades and centuries. As an example, Minnesota’s climate is snowy and cold and snowy in the winter, while Hawaii’s climate is humid and warm year long. In contrast, weather relates to a condition or event that takes place over days or hours, like a snowstorm, a thunderstorm, and the daily temperature.

What Are the Benefits of Acting on Climate Change Now?

Economic research concludes that the more we procrastinate to do something about climate change, the more damage will be permanently done as would the rising cost. Many technologies are readily available. The decisions we act on today will mitigate the growing threats. Many options we can implement to deal with climate change will have noticeable results, which include cleaner air, water, and food sources.

A current study by the EPA concluded that planetary efforts to reduce CO2 emissions could prevent tens of thousands of annual deaths in the U.S. and save tens of billions of dollars in damages due to flooding, water shortages, and agricultural sector losses.12

What Are Three Facts About Sustainability?

Despite the popular notion, protecting the environment isn’t the only platform for sustainability. There are three pillars of sustainability which include society, environment, and economy. The planet and its inhabitants will experience a better quality of life when the three pillars are equally active. We can all experience a thriving environment well balanced with economic welfare and societal productivity.

How Many Tons of Water on Earth?

There is 1.3 billion tons of water on earth.

The planet contains about 1.3 billion tons of water. That water supply is in constant motion and cycles through the planet’s water reservoirs while flowing through the oceans, migrating to the air, and raining upon the land.


1U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022, April 18). Environmental Scientists and Specialists. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm>

2The University of Minnesota. (2022). What is Earth and Environmental Science? University of Minnesota Duluth. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://scse.d.umn.edu/about/departments-and-programs/earth-environmental-sciences-department/what-earth-environmental>

3University of South Carolina. (2022). Environmental Science / Environmental Studies. U of SC South Carolina. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://sc.edu/study/majors_and_degrees/environmental_science_environmental_studies.php>

4ACS Publications. (2022). Environmental Science & Technology. ACS Publications. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://pubs.acs.org/journal/esthag#>

5Eco Friendly Habits. (2021). 22 Fun & Interesting Facts About The Environment. Eco Friendly Habits. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://www.ecofriendlyhabits.com/environmental-facts/>

6Eco Cycle. (2010, November). Environmental Facts Facts and Figures to Inspire Action toward Zero Waste. Eco Cycle. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://www.ecocycle.org/files/pdfs/Eco-CycleEnvironmentalFacts.pdf>

7MI News Network. (2022, July 27). Cargo Vessel KWAI Collected 96 Tons Of Plastic From The Pacific Ocean. Marine in Sight. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://www.marineinsight.com/shipping-news/cargo-vessel-kwai-collected-96-tons-of-plastic-from-the-pacific-ocean/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cargo-vessel-kwai-collected-96-tons-of-plastic-from-the-pacific-ocean>

8Bags by the Numbers. (2022). WM Pacific Northwest. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <http://www.wmnorthwest.com/guidelines/plasticvspaper.htm#>

9Parker, L. (2018, December 20). Fast facts about plastic pollution. National Geographic. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/plastics-facts-infographics-ocean-pollution>

10Mrosovsky, N., Ryan, G., & James, M. (2008, October 18). Leatherback turtles: The menace of plastic. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58(2), 287-289. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19135688/>

11Environmental Defense Fund. (2018, October 5). Air pollution mapping enters a new tech era. EDF Environmental Defense Fund. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://www.edf.org/climate/methanemaps/partnership>

12United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action. EPA. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/documents/cirareport.pdf>