If today is a typical day on planet Earth, I estimate we will lose 77 square miles of rainfores, or about two-thirds of an acre per second. We will lose another 126 square miles to encroaching deserts according to the UNCCD, as a result of human mismanagement and overpopulation. According to calculations derived from the World Wildlife Fund, we could lose between 5 and 275 species, and no one really knows whether the number is 5 or 275. UNICEF reports the human population will increase by 353,000. Today we will add only a tiny percentage of chlorofluorocarbons to the atmosphere that we did in 25 years ago though we will contribute around 40 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere this year. Tonight the Earth will be hotter, its waters more acidic, and the fabric of life more threadbare.
This paragraph updates the introduction to David Orr’s essay What is Education For?