Large, densely populated, and bustling cities contribute to an enormous amount of energy use – and often a drain on resources necessary to sustain good health. Though there is increased attention on the environmental impacts of cities on the air, water, and natural landscape, The Washington Informer believes it is important for readers to know the numbers and work earnestly to reduce the impact of built environments, while improving the viability of urban residents:
- It is estimated that 83 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas, up from 64 percent in 1950. By 2050, 89 percent of the U.S. population and 68 percent of the world population is projected to live in urban areas.
- More than 300 urban areas in the U.S. have populations above 100,000; New York City, with 8.4 million inhabitants, is the largest.
- While the rate of urbanization, i.e., the changing of land from forest or agricultural uses to suburban and urban uses, is decreasing, an ever-larger percentage of the world’s population is living in urban centers.
- Between 2000 and 2010, urban land area in the U.S. increased by 15 percent. Urban land area is 106,386 square miles, or 3 percent of total land area in the U.S., and is projected to more than double by 2060.
- While the International Energy Agency (IEA) contended the 8 percent drop in carbon emission is the largest decline in human existence, the world is still emitting 92 percent as much carbon dioxide as it did last year. The climate crisis is well on its way and much more daunting than we think.
- The World Health Organization contended that between 2030 and 2050, climate change will cause around 250,000 deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress.