The right statistic is often worth a thousand words—and sometimes much more than that.
These five data points (some of them already a little older) provide a glimpse into global enviromental issues, trends and stats you would have never thought possible. Some are well known facts. Others are small stats that tell a big story.
1. It is estimated that more than 99% of all the species that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct.
Of all species that have existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct. Many of them perished in five cataclysmic events.
According to a recent poll, seven out of ten biologists think we are currently in the throes of a sixth mass extinction, even though it’s hard to compare past extinction rates with that of the present. Some say it could wipe out as many as 90 percent of all species living today. Yet other scientists dispute such dire projections: Several times in the last 500 million years, 75 to more than 90 percent of all species on Earth have disappeared in a geological blink of an eye in catastrophes we call mass extinctions. Old species make way for newer, more evolved species to fit the constantly changing ecological niches.
So based on what facts do the scientist claim that we might be in the midst of the nest mass extinction?
Since habitat destruction is the leading cause of endangerment and extinction, and we have data on the rate of habitat destruction, we can estimate rates of extinction in some cases. Introduced species — those who migrate to a new area — are the second leading cause of endangerment and extinction. Information on the rate of species introduction and the nature of the impacts of introduced species on native species and ecosystems allows inferences about extinction rates.
The evidence all points to a global tragedy with a profound loss of biodiversity.
(Sources: https://www.pbs.org/ and https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science)
2. 60% of people can’t get through a ten-minute conversation without lying
How many people have you spoken with today? Chances are that most of them lied to you–and that they did it more than once. It’s a hard fact to accept, but even your closest friends and co-workers lie to you regularly.
University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman has studied lying for more than a decade, and his research has reached some startling conclusions. Most shocking is that 60 percent of people lie during a typical 10-minute conversation, and they average two to three lies during that short timeframe.
Most of the people in Feldman’s studies didn’t even realize all of the lies they told until after the conversation, when it was played back to them on video.
People lie in everyday conversation to appear more likable and competent. While men and women lie equally as often, they tend to lie for different reasons. “Women were more likely to lie to make the person they were talking to feel good, while men lied most often to make themselves look better,” Feldman said.
So which is it? Are you a part of the 40 percent that can be completely honest for just 600 seconds or do you slip into a little (or not so little) lie now and then?
3. Between 43% and 54% of pilots have admitted to falling asleep while flying.
Over the last few years, fatigue among pilots and cabin crew has become a genuine concern in the aviation world. Despite scientific studies showing that fatigue could jeopardise the safety of air operations, data about the prevalence of fatigue across Europe is scarce.
Several surveys were conducted and more than 6000 European pilots were asked to self-assess their level of fatigue. And these are the results:
- Over 50% of surveyed pilots experience fatigue as impairing their ability to perform well while on flight duty.
- 4 out of 5 pilots have to cope with fatigue while in the cockpit, according to polls carried out in Austria (85%), Sweden (89%), Germany (92%) and Denmark (93%).
- A common indicator of the problem is that fatigued pilots are prone to fall asleep or experience episodes of micro-sleep in the cockpit. In the UK (43%), Denmark (50%), Norway (53%) and Sweden (54%) the surveyed pilots reported falling asleep involuntarily in the cockpit while flying. In the UK, a third of the pilots said to have woken up finding their colleague sleeping as well. 65% of Dutch and French pilots stated they have trouble with “heavy eyelids” during flight.
- Yet, fearing disciplinary actions or stigmatization by the employer or colleagues, 70- 80% of fatigued pilots would not file a fatigue report or declare to be unfit to fly. Only 20-30% will report unfit for duty or file a report under such an occurrence.
- More than 3 out of 5 pilots in Sweden (71%), Norway (79%) and Denmark (80-90%) acknowledge to have already made mistakes due to fatigue, while in Germany it was 4 out of 5 pilots.
4. 69% of children aged 2-5 can use a computer mouse, but only a mere 11% can tie their shoelaces
5. Earth Overshoot Day Is Coming Sooner and Sooner.
July 29 marks this year’s Earth Overshoot Day, the day that humanity’s demand for ecological resources exceeds the resources Earth can regenerate within that year.
It is scary to think that we have already consumed more natural resources than the planet can renew for this year. We are using up natural resources at a mind-boggling speed. We have a planet. With its forests, fields and rivers… but only one. The problem is that we are abusing it as if there are two, three or five Earths instead of just one.
So it’s down to us whether the overshoot day is pushed back or brought forwards in the year.