More than ever, people are interested in facts about the environment.
You may know a thing or two about global warming, garbage washing up on beaches, and overflowing landfills; however, there are some stunning facts about the environment you may not know.
This guide contains over 125 enlightening facts about the environment that will help demystify these Eco-conscious concepts using straight-to-the-point and easy-to-understand explanations.
10 Facts About Environment: Facts About Nature and Environment
1. There are over 3.04 trillion trees on the planet. However, 27,000 of them are chopped down each day to manufacture toilet paper.
Annually, this translates to around 9.8 million trees.
2. Seventy-eight percent of marine mammals die from getting entangled in plastic. Single-use bags and other plastic rubbish dumped in the ocean kill more than 100,000,000 sea animals annually.
3. Each year, Americans throw away around 25 billion styrofoam cups, which translates to about 82 cups per person.
4. Fungi are important organisms in the environment. They transfer nutrients from decomposing wood and leaf litter to aquatic systems, consume fossil fuel spills, and release important molecules into the soil.
5. In the United States, more than 10 billion paper bags are used annually, requiring the cutting down of 14 million trees.3
6. A glass bottle can take more than 1 million years to decompose or even more if it is in a landfill. A glass bottle manufactured and used 4,000 years ago may still be in the environment.
7. If you walk 1 kilometer along an average U.S. highway, you will see around 1,457 pieces of litter.
8. You can recycle paper from trees six times. After the sixth time, the paper’s fibers become too weak and cannot hold together.
9. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a ring of trash and waste.11 It covers approximately 1.6 million km2, an area thrice the size of France and twice the size of Texas, and contains around 100 million tons of rubbish.
10. An estimated 25 percent of coral reefs that adorn the world’s seas have been destroyed beyond repair due to:
- A warming climate
- Mining coral for construction materials
- Collecting live corals for aquariums and sea parks
- Destructive fishing practices (using cyanide or dynamite)
10 Facts About Environmental Protection
There are numerous steps that individuals can take to protect the environment. These include:
11. Avoid buying single-use plastics
Whenever you are performing your day-to-day activities, carry a reusable bottle or flask in your bag. This cuts your weekly bottle buying and prevents bottles from ending up in oceans or landfills.9
12. Travel smart
If you can, carpool with friends, ride a bicycle, take public transport, or walk. This will reduce the number of cars on the road, which, in turn, reduces the emission of CO2.
13. Conserve resources
Conserve resources like electricity and water. Limit how you use them and do not be wasteful. You can do this by following these simple steps:
- Insulate indoor areas
- Fix leaking faucets and pipes
- Use ceiling fans instead of air conditioners
- Harvest rainwater and use it for day-to-day activities
- Avoid hot water baths and shorten your shower time
- Use LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs since they are more energy-efficient
14. Reduce your carbon footprint
As little as it may seem, your smallest efforts to reduce your carbon footprint make a huge difference.
On short journeys, walk or cycle instead of taking your car. You can also switch to green electricity, such as solar and wind energy, as they help reduce GHG emissions.
15. Plant pollinator-friendly plants
You can help pollinators by planting containers of nectar plants in your garden or front porch. Pollinators help create and maintain the ecosystems and habitats animals depend on for shelter and food.
16. Keep your garden chemical free.
Avoid using pesticides and herbicides. These substances kill moths, butterflies, and other pollinating insects, including beetles, ladybirds, and spiders.
17. Use reusable bags
Single-use plastic bags get disposed of and end up in landfills or oceans.
These can entangle marine life, leading to a slow, painful death. Moreover, single-use plastic bags take 1,000 years to degrade.
Wherever you go shopping, make sure to carry a reusable bag. Reusable bags cut down on litter, protect marine and wildlife, and decrease pollution and your plastic carbon footprint.
18. Plant trees
Planting trees is a great way to protect the environment. Increasing the number of trees helps reduce the carbon footprint.2 It also cleanses the air and improves air quality by absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen.
19. Reduce, reuse, and recycle
- Reducing involves cutting back the amount of trash you generate
- Reuse involves finding new ways to use items you would have otherwise thrown away
- Recycle involves turning old items (such as plastic containers) into new and useful items (such as recycling bins)
20. Air-dry your clothes
On sunny days, hang your clothes on a line instead of using a dryer. Not only will this leave your clothes smelling fresher, but it will also eliminate germs.
Environmental Pollution: 5 Facts About Pollution in the Air
21. According to World Health Organization estimates, air pollution is responsible for one in eight deaths worldwide.10
22. China is the leading producer of CO2. Other countries that follow closely behind include:
|Rank||Country||Amount of CO2 Released|
|1||China||10,065 million tons|
|2||United States||5,416 million tons|
|3||India||2,654 million tons|
|4||Russia||1,711 million tons|
|5||Japan||1,162 million tons|
|6||Germany||759 million tons|
|7||Iran||720 million tons|
|8||South Korea||659 million tons|
|9||Saudi Arabia||621 million tons|
|10||Indonesia||615 million tons|
23. As of 2022, there are around 1.446 billion cars in the world. By 2030, there will be 2.6 billion cars in the world, meaning the pollution levels will more than double.
24. Each year, 1.2 trillion gallons of industrial waste, untreated sewage, and stormwater are dumped in U.S. water.
25. Pollution is the world’s number one killer, causing more premature deaths than cigarettes, terrorism, and natural disasters.
20 Facts About Climate Change
26. Thirty percent of human-made CO2 is absorbed by the ocean. As a result, the ocean water becomes more acidic, affecting marine life like plankton and coral and destroying the habitat of small fish.
27. The U.S. has 4.25 percent of the total global population and contributes to 28 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions.
28. Depending on the rate at which CO2 is dumped into the atmosphere, the global temperature is expected to rise from 1.1 degrees to 6.4 degrees by the end of this century.
29. Storms, floods, droughts, hurricanes, forest fires, and heat waves are some of the natural disasters resulting from climate change.
30. Climate change encourages the spread of pests that cause public health issues and life-threatening diseases such as Lyme disease, dengue, and malaria.12
31. CO2 is not the only gas that contributes to climate change. Other gasses like nitrous oxide and methane also contribute to climate change and are more dangerous than CO2.
32. As of July 2021, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is the highest it has ever been.
33. The average sea level is expected to go up by at least a foot and eight feet by mid-century.6 Since 1880, the sea level has gone up by nine inches, and the rate is only accelerating.
34. Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets lose 427 billion tons of ice annually. To put this into perspective, imagine nineteen football fields.
35. Deforestation is one of the most harmful human activities, accounting for 11 percent of GHG emissions.13
36. Cattle are the main sources of agricultural GHGs worldwide.7 One cow can produce approximately 220 pounds of methane per year.
37. Over the next twenty years, global warming is projected to increase by 0.2 degrees per decade.
38. The frequency and intensity of weather-related extreme events have increased in the U.S. Warm air holds more water vapor, leading to heavier rainfall, which, in turn, leads to catastrophic floods.
39. Over the past five years, snow cover has drastically decreased, and the rate at which this is happening is expected to increase.14 Snow is reflective and helps regulate the earth’s internal temperature by reflecting the sun’s rays back into space.
Decreased snow cover leads to a decrease in drinking and irrigating water, dryer soil, and an increased risk of wildfire.
40. Glaciers are retreating in most global locations, including Africa, the Andes, Alaska, the Rockies, and the Himalayas.
41. The effects of climate change could potentially be irreversible. According to a report by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), if urgent action is not taken, the catastrophic effects of climate change could be irreversible by 2030.
42. GHG levels are the highest they have ever been and are causing the global temperature to go up. Intensive farming, emissions from transport, and burning fossil fuels have all contributed to the rise in GHGs.
43. Usually, five species go extinct yearly; however, the world is losing between 10,000 and 100,000 species yearly. As more and more species go extinct, there will be a reduction in water quality, food security, and a loss of natural pest control.
Related Reading: 87 Animals That Will Be Extinct by 2050 (Includes Rarest Animal in the World)
44. Climate change is one of the main contributors to the refugee crisis. As global temperatures go up, hundreds of thousands of people flee their homes to avoid the effects of weather-related extreme events.
45. Between 2030 and 2050, global warming is expected to cause around 250,000 deaths yearly from heat stress, malnutrition, diarrhea, and malaria.
Good Facts About the Environment
46. Reforestation is a goal for many individuals.
Even though deforestation is still a huge global issue, more and more individuals have stepped up to try and tackle the problem. An estimated 1.9 billion trees are planted yearly.
47. Eco-friendly products are taking over the market.
Eco-friendly products are becoming more popular. Consumers across all generations — from Generation X to Generation Z — are choosing sustainable products to help protect the environment and are more likely to purchase products labeled as environmentally friendly.
48. Efforts to protect the ocean continue.
Studies show that by 2050, the number of plastic in the ocean will surpass that of fish. Fortunately, people are doing whatever it takes to keep plastics out of the ocean, including reducing plastic use, going straw-free, and avoiding products containing microplastics.15
Positive Environmental Facts
49. Improvement in CO2 emissions
In the U.S., CO2 emissions dropped by 4 percent in 2021. In the European Union, CO2 emissions dropped by 2.4 percent, and in Japan, they dropped by 3.7 percent.
50. A rise in geothermal energy
The use of geothermal energy is becoming more apparent. Electricity generated from geothermal power plants is predicted to increase from 16 billion kilowatt-hours to 47.7 billion kilowatt-hours.16
51. Many people are opting for solar power.
Many homeowners in the U.S. are opting for solar power. This is because solar energy does not emit GHGs or toxic substances into the atmosphere.
With the rise of solar power use, more types of solar panels are made available in the market.
Facts About Environment Day
52. World Environment Day was first celebrated on 5 June 1973.
53. World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June each year.
54. World Environment Day has its own anthem.
55. On World Environment Day, event organizers decorate venues using natural colors that depict nature: blue, brown, and green.
56. Each country celebrates World Environment Day in its own way, including clean-up campaigns, street rallies, concerts, and rallies.
Environmental Facts for Students
57. More than 15 billion trees are cut down each year. Without these trees, animals lose their homes, and higher levels of GHGs end up in the atmosphere that would have otherwise been stored as CO2 by those trees.
58. Cows’ farts and burps are harmful to the environment. One cow can release 200 to 400 pounds of methane through farts and burps every year. These levels are 20 times stronger than CO2 gas.
59. CO2, nitrous oxide, and methane are the most common GHGs. They contribute to global warming, which brings about devastating effects such as:
- Heat waves
- A rise in sea levels
Facts About Environmental Protection
60. One of the most interesting facts about the environment is that you can protect it by eating less meat and more vegetables. With time, this reduces the impacts of animal farming, such as emissions from animals.5
61. Composting food scraps and organic matter into a planter can promote soil regeneration.17 It also keeps GHGs out of the atmosphere.
62. If you are taking notes, avoid using paper and use your laptop, tablet, or smartphone instead. Cutting down on paper use is an excellent way to protect the environment.
Facts About the Environment Dying
63. In the past 30 years, the world has lost 50 percent of its coral reefs.
64. At the current rate of extinction, 30 to 50 percent of species could go extinct by 2050.
65. Every two days, a forest the size of New York City is destroyed.
66. If global temperatures continue to rise, hurricanes that reach categories four and five will be more frequent.1
67. Tropical deforestation claims about 12 million hectares of forest each year. If this trend continues, there will be no rainforests in the next 79 years.
Facts About Environmental Issues
The most brutal environmental issues you should know about include:
68. Water pollution
Fresh, clean water is becoming scarcer. This is because water sources are at risk of pollution from:18
- Industrial waste
- Marine dumping
- Radioactive waste
- Oil leaks and spills
- Wastewater and sewage
69. Climate change
Climate change is another environmental issue that presents new challenges for survival for humans and animals. Its destructive impacts include new sicknesses,8 changes in seasons, and the melting of polar ice.
Forests reduce air pollution and soil erosion, modify the local climate, and create plant and animal diversity. Presently, forests are being cut every day because people are looking for materials for paper, furniture, and construction.
Fun Facts About Environmental Science
71. Every sixty seconds, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic bags, food wrappers, and beverage bottles is dumped in the ocean.
72. Every sixty seconds, sixteen tons of sewage is released into American waters.
73. If humans do not take action to fight climate change, saltwater fish could become extinct by 2048.
74. Two billion people in the world do not have regular access to fresh, clean water.19
75. An estimated 50 percent of all CO2 emissions are produced by the richest 10 percent of the global population.
Facts About the Environment and Pollution
76. Each year, more than 1 million seabirds die due to pollution.
77. People living in polluted cities have a higher chance of dying from lung cancer than people living in less polluted areas.
78. Forty percent of American lakes are too polluted for swimming, fishing, or aquatic life.
79. Each year, the Mississippi River carries phosphorus and nitrogen pollution into the Gulf of Mexico.20
Facts About Nature and the Environment
80. Owls do not have eyeballs.
81. Heat is the most dangerous weather event.
82. Frogs can jump 30 to 50 times their body length.
83. Unlike humans, horses and cows sleep while standing up.
84. Of all the plant types, humans consume maize, wheat, and rice the most.
85. Cows kill more people than sharks. Cows kill a whopping twenty-two people each year, while sharks kill five people every year.
Facts About Air Pollution
86. A report by the World Health Organization shows that every day, 91 percent of the global population breathes in polluted air.21
87. Air pollution is responsible for 1 in 8 deaths globally.10
88. Air pollution is reducing the life expectancy of millions of people worldwide. It is a greater threat to life expectancy than war, HIV, and smoking.
89. Air pollution-related deaths are highest in low to middle-income countries.
90. India is home to 10 of the most polluted cities in the world.
Facts About Water Pollution
91. Water pollution accounts for 10,000 deaths daily. This translates to 3.6 million deaths yearly.
92. Eighty percent of ocean pollution comes from ranches, septic tanks, motor vehicles, untreated sewage, and run-off.
93. Seventy percent of China’s lakes and rivers are unsafe for human use.
94. Oil is a greater threat to the ocean’s ecosystem than rubbish and waste.
95. Each year, 1.3 million gallons of oil are spilled into the ocean.
Facts About Pollution in the Ocean
96. Chemicals in heavily polluted oceans can affect individuals’ health since they cause nervous system damage, reproductive problems, kidney damage, and hormonal problems.22
97. The most common items found in ocean clean-ups include drink stirrers, plastic straws, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps, and plastic beverage bottles.
98. CO2 emissions harm the ocean. If humans do not reduce the rate at which they produce CO2, the acid level of the surface water in the ocean could go up by 150 percent by the end of this century .4
99. The amount of plastic waste in the ocean is enough to circle the earth 400 times.
100. By 2050, the amount of plastic in the ocean is projected to weigh more than the number of fish.
Shocking Facts About Pollution
101. One of the most shocking facts about the environment is that each year, 600,000 children under five years old die due to environmental pollution.
102. Americans buy around 50 billion water bottles each year. Of these, only 29.1 percent are recycled.23
103. Cadmium is a highly toxic element that harms the body’s systems, especially the kidneys, lungs, and bones. It is widespread in polluted water and many food items.
Shocking Facts About Global Warming
104. Global warming can wipe out two-thirds of the bird population in North America.
105. Rising sea levels will swallow more than 15 million homes by mid-century.
106. Extremely hot weather will cause an increase in droughts and wildfires.
107. Humans are responsible for most of the increase in global temperatures.
Facts About Pollution for Kids
108. Marine animals mistake plastic waste for food.
109. Smog from factory smoke and car fumes can cover cities, making it difficult to breathe.
110. Ocean pollution is projected to triple by 2060.
111. The ocean absorbs and stores around 30 percent of global CO2 emissions.
112. Seventy percent of industrial waste and ninety percent of wastewater in developing countries is released into water bodies without treatment.
113. Waste produced by chicken, buffalo, and cows is known as livestock waste. Livestock waste contains deadly bacteria, which can cause soil pollution and affect the quality of food.
Good News About Environment: Good Environmental News Today
114. France is the first country in the European Union to ban fossil fuel advertisements.
115. Norway is aiming for a 55 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030.
116. Germany has passed a bill into law that will require manufacturers of products containing single-use plastics to contribute €450, which will go toward litter clean-ups.
117. China is in the process of building the world’s largest wind farm, which is expected to power more than 13 million homes.
118. Britain’s biggest bank, Lloyds Banking Group, has announced that it will no longer finance new gas and oil fields.
119. Norway is en route to becoming the first country in the world with a zero-emissions public transport network.
120. Wolves, Bears, and Bison are making a comeback in Europe.
121. Dutch students have invented a zero-emission mobility car that captures CO2 as it drives.24
Environmental Problems and Solutions
122. One of the unknown facts about the environment is that you can help save it by opting for reusable items. These include:
- Bringing your own reusable grocery bags;
- Carrying your own reusable water bottles or cups;
- Buying bulk containers of your favorite drinks and refilling a reusable bottle.
123. Conserve electricity and water
- Turn off the sink water when brushing your teeth;
- Switch off devices and appliances when not in use (laptops, lights, television);
- Water the lawn in the morning or evening when the air is cooler and less likely to cause evaporation.
124. Pass on paper
- Join a library instead of buying books;
- Avoiding printing, but if you must, print on both sides;
- Stop using paper towels; instead, use washable clothes.
125. Participate in clean-up campaigns
Clean-up campaigns are a great way of saving animals’ lives and discouraging individuals from littering in the future.
The habitability, biodiversity, and resources of the earth are diminishing at an alarming rate. Deforestation, climate change, plastic pollution, air pollution, ocean pollution, and an accelerating rate of extinction are the most prevalent issues threatening the environment.
Now that you know the most important facts about the environment, you can start taking steps to fight environmental pollution and help restore the earth to its pristine condition.
Frequently Asked Questions About Facts About the Environment
Why Is Almond Milk Bad for the Environment?
For those wondering why is almond milk bad for the environment? Almond milk is bad for the environment because it requires more water than other dairy alternatives and contributes to eutrophication.
What Is One of the Most Shocking Facts About the Environment?
One of the most shocking facts about the environment is that global warming is already happening, and it is detrimental to human life.
What Is Climate Change?
Climate change is a shift in wind patterns, precipitation, temperature, and other aspects of climate.
Who Is Responsible for Climate Change?
Humans are mostly to blame for climate change. Human activities like clearing forests, cultivating crops, raising livestock, and burning fossil fuels release GHGs into the atmosphere.
How Is Climate Change Affecting the Ocean?
Climate change is shifting ocean currents, leading to coral bleaching and impacting millions of marine animals and habitats.
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1Barlow, M., & Camargo, S. (2022, October 3). Here’s What We Know About How Climate Change Fuels Hurricanes. State of the Planet. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2022/10/03/heres-what-we-know-about-how-climate-change-fuels-hurricanes/>
2Buis, A. (2019, November 7). Examining the Viability of Planting Trees to Help Mitigate Climate Change. NASA. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2927/examining-the-viability-of-planting-trees-to-help-mitigate-climate-change/>
3Cho, R. (2020, April 30). Plastic, Paper or Cotton: Which Shopping Bag is Best? State of the Planet. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2020/04/30/plastic-paper-cotton-bags/>
4Denchak, M. (2022, June 7). Ocean Pollution: The Dirty Facts. NRDC. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <https://www.nrdc.org/stories/ocean-pollution-dirty-facts>
5Levy, L. (2016, February 18). 4 ways to Eat Greener and Protect the Environment. GOV.UK. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <https://ukhsa.blog.gov.uk/2016/02/18/4-ways-to-eat-greener-and-protect-the-environment/>
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7Quinton, A. (2019, June 27). Cows and Climate Change. UCDavis. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <https://www.ucdavis.edu/food/news/making-cattle-more-sustainable>
8Stanford University. (2019, March 15). How does Climate Change Affect Disease? Stanford Earth Matters Magazine. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <https://earth.stanford.edu/news/how-does-climate-change-affect-disease>
9Vasarhelyi, K. (2021, February 25). The Climate Impact of Single Use Plastics. University of Colorado Boulder. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <https://www.colorado.edu/ecenter/2021/02/25/climate-impact-single-use-plastics>
10Whitacre, P. (2014, April). Air Pollution Accounts for 1 in 8 Deaths Worldwide, According to New WHO Estimates. National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/programs/geh/geh_newsletter/2014/4/articles/air_pollution_accounts_for_1_in_8_deaths_worldwide_according_to_new_who_estimates.cfm>
11National Ocean Service. (2014, June 26). Great Pacific Garbage Patch. NOAA National Ocean Service. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/podcast/june14/mw126-garbagepatch.html>
12US EPA. (2022, July 26). Public Health Issues Caused by Pests. EPA. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/public-health-issues-caused-pests>
13US EPA. (2022, February 25). Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data. EPA. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data>
14NASA Earth Observatory. (2022, August 31). Snow Cover. NASA Earth Observatory. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/global-maps/MOD10C1_M_SNOW>
15National Ocean Service. (2022, January 27). A Guide to Plastic in the Ocean. NOAA National Ocean Service. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/hazards/marinedebris/plastics-in-the-ocean.html>
16University of Michigan. (2022). Geothermal Energy Factsheet. Center for Sustainable Systems. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://css.umich.edu/publications/factsheets/energy/geothermal-energy-factsheet>
17Wikipedia. (2022). Soil regeneration. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_regeneration>
18East Central University. (2019, September 9). What are the Causes of Water Pollution? East Central University Online. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://online.ecok.edu/articles/causes-of-water-pollution/>
19Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, May 31). Global WASH Fast Facts. CDC. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/global/wash_statistics.html>
20National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2020, June 3). Larger-than-average ‘dead zone’ expected for Gulf of Mexico. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/larger-than-average-dead-zone-expected-for-gulf-of-mexico>
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22National Library of Medicine. (2020, March 12). Endocrine Disruptors in Water and Their Effects on the Reproductive System. NCBI. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139484/>
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24Seattle Department of Transportation. (2022). Electrification and Zero Emission Mobility Program – Transportation. Seattle.gov. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from <https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/new-mobility-program/electrification-and-zero-emission-mobility-program>
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