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It is well known that Americans consume far more natural resources and live much less sustainably than people from any other large country of the world. “A child born in the United States will create thirteen times as much ecological damage over the course of his or her lifetime than a child born in Brazil,” reports the Sierra Club’s Dave Tilford, adding that the average American will drain as many resources as 35 natives of India and consume 53 times more goods and services than someone from China.


Tilford cites a litany of sobering statistics showing just how profligate Americans have been in using and abusing natural resources. For example, between 1900 and 1989 U.S. population tripled while its use of raw materials grew by a factor of 17. “With less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper,” he reports. “Our per capita use of energy, metals, minerals, forest products, fish, grains, meat, and even fresh water dwarfs that of people living in the developing world.”

蒂尔福德引用了一长串发人深省的统计数据,显示出美国人在使用和浪费自然资源方面是多么地挥霍无度。例如,从1900年到1989年,美国人口增长了两倍,而原材料的使用量则增长了17倍。他说:“美国人口不到世界人口的5%,却使用了世界上三分之一的纸张、四分之一的石油、23%的煤炭、27%的铝和19%的铜?!薄拔颐嵌阅茉?、金属、矿产、林产品、鱼类、谷物、肉类甚至淡水的人均使用,让发展中国家的人相形见绌?!?br />

Overall, National Geographic’s Greendex found that American consumers rank last of 17 countries surveyed in regard to sustainable behavior. Furthermore, the study found that U.S. consumers are among the least likely to feel guilty about the impact they have on the environment, yet they are near to top of the list in believing that individual choices could make a difference.


Paradoxically, those with the lightest environmental footprint are also the most likely to feel both guilty and disempowered. “In what may be a major disconnect between perception and behavior, the study also shows that consumers who feel the guiltiest about their impact—those in China, India and Brazil—actually lead the pack in sustainable consumer choices,” says National Geographic’s Terry Garcia, who coordinates the annual Greendex study. “That’s despite Chinese and Indian consumers also being among the least confident that individual action can help the environment.”

矛盾的是,那些对环境影响最小的人也最有可能感到内疚和无助。国家地理杂志的特里·加西亚负责协调这项年度绿色消费者调查,他说:“研究还表明,那些对自己的影响感到最内疚的消费者——那些来自中国、印度和巴西的消费者——实际上在选择可持续的消费品方面处于领先地位?!薄熬」苤泄陀《鹊南颜叨愿鋈诵卸芄桓纳苹肪车男判囊彩亲畹偷??!?br />
On average, one American consumes as much energy as


o 2 Japanese 日本人的2倍
o 6 Mexicans 墨西哥人的6倍
o 13 Chinese 中国人的13倍
o 31 Indians 印度人的31倍
o 128 Bangladeshis 孟加拉人的128倍
o 307 Tanzanians 坦桑尼亚人的307倍
o 370 Ethiopians 埃塞俄比亚人的370倍

The average American individual daily consumption of water is 159 gallons, while more than half the world''''s population lives on 25 gallons.


How much energy does the average American consume? Well, if you list the countries of the world in order by their population , the U.S. comes in third... but the combined energy consumption of the other five largest added together doesn''''t match U.S. energy consumption! In other words, the 5% of the world''''s population that lives in the U.S. has more environmental impact than the 51% that live in the other five largest countries.


Next time you hear about a woman in India who has seven children, remember that she''''d have to have more than 20 children to match the impact of an American woman with just one child. And an immigrant who moves to the U.S. is likely to consume far more energy just by moving here. Even if he scrimps and saves energy at home, every thing he buys will increase consumption of energy and other resources.