The January/February issue of the Atlantic has a neat graphic that shows how our country has changed over the Bush years. There are some interesting environmental stats here:
--The price of a bushel of corn has more than doubled, from $1.86 to $4.81, thanks to ethanol.
--The price of electriticy per 500 KWH has gone up from $47.47 to $65.69 in September, thanks to rising fuel costs.
--Oil consumption, however, has stayed about the same. It was 19.7 million barrels a day in 2000, and 19.5 million barrels a day as of September 2008.
--How the mighty fall: General Motors' market capitalization in 2000 was $28.30 billion. In December 2008, it's $2.99 billion.
--We are watching more TV and video games. People 12 years old and older played, on average, 65 hours of video games in 2000, and 80 hours in 2008. The same age range watched an average of 1,502 hours of television in 2000 versus 1,704 hours in 2008.
--We're buying more stuff online - which can be good, if it eliminates gas-guzzling trips to the mall. We spent $5.3 billion online in 2000 (0.68 percent of all sales), and $34.6 billion in 2008 (3.3 percent of all sales).
--We're canceling our newspaper subscriptions. There are fewer trees being turned into newspapers, but as a self-preserving journalist, I am required to be outraged by this. Buy print publications, any of them or all of them, OK? Or, consider an e-newspaper. Daily newspaper circulation was 55,773,000 in 2000, and has declined to 50,742,000 in 2008.
--We're buying fewer albums, which means we're downloading (or pirating) them waste-free online. There were 785.1 million albums sold in 2000, as opposed to 500.5 million in 2007.
[Learn how to green your music]
--We're better at conserving paper at work. Yearly paper usage by white collar workers in 2000 was 144.19 lbs, and 129.34 lbs in 2008.
--Finally - and this is not news to anyone - we're getting fatter. In 2000, 28 states had obesity rates below 20 percent. In 2008, only one state does.
These figures pertain to a population of 281 million in 2000, and 306 million in 2008.