Potpourri . . .

Burnin' Up
Energy-related carbon emissions in the U.S. have reached another all-time high in 1994. Emissions from the nation's use of fossil fuels climbed to an estimated 1,412 million metric tons (MMT) in 1994, an increase of 41 MMT (3.0%) relative to 1993, and 74 MMT (5.5%) compared to 1990. Total U.S. energy use in 1994 rose 6.0 percent compared to 1990. (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, January 1995, "Energy Efficiency and Economic Indicators: Charting Improvements in the Economy and the Environment."
It adds up
An American born in the 1990s would produce in a lifetime about one million kilograms of atmospheric wastes, ten million kilgrams of liquid wastes, and one million kilograms of solid waste. In addition, an American will consume 700 thousand kilgrams of minerals, and 24 billion BTUs of energy, which is equivalent to four thousand barrels of oil. In a lifetime, an average Amrican will eat 25 thousand kilgrams of major plant foods and 28 thousand kilograms of animal products, provided in part by slaughtering two thousand animals. ("The Environmental Consequences of Having a Baby in the United States," Population and the Environment)

Why Not?
A panel assembled by the American Gastroenterological Association and sponsored by federal health agencies and the food industry recommended that some ground beef be irradiated before sale to kill a virulent strain of Escherischis coli. The strain, 0157:H7, sickened over 700 customers of fast food restaurants, killing 4 of them. (Contra Costa Times)
Life Prices and Whose Life is that Anyway?
How much does it cost to save a life? and how do we measure? Who should measure? More attention in the new Congress will be focused on studies such as the following: A preliminary cost-benefit study by the Harvard School of Public Health calculated expenses in three main categories: medical intervention, injury avoidance, and pollution control based on 1200 U.S. government regulatory impact analyses that contain cost and life-saving information.
Life extending medical intervention came out least expensive, averaging $19,000 per life-year saved. Injury avoidance controls - from seatbelts in card to ejection systems in Air Force B-58 bombers - cost an average of $48,000 per life-year saved. Offering the poorest return on invested dollars, environmental regulation of radiation, asbestos, lead and other environmental hazards with a median cost of $2,782,000 per life-year saved.
Some medical procedures, such a prenatal care and childhood immunization, cost next to nothing, while the cost for regulating asbestos averages $1.8 million dollars for each life saved. Dr. Tammy Tengs, one of the study's main authors claims "We could save more years of life [overall] if we are more attentive to the cost of saving each life." (Garbage Magazine)

A Driving Force
"The total number of household-based vehicles more than doubled between 1969 and 1990 from 72,500,000 to 165,221,000... The rate of increase in the number of vehicles surpassed the rate of increase in the number of households. There were 1.15 vehicles per houshold in 1969 and 1.77 vehicles per household in 1990. Vehicles were driven more: 11,6000 miles per year in 1969 and 12,458 in 1990. (1990 National Personal Transportation Survey Databook, Volume 1, Office of Highway Information Management)
Supply and Demand
For every 1% increase in demand for food, the price at the farm gate increases 4.5%. (Food, Land, Population, and the U.S. Economy, Carrying Capacity Network)

Some Areas of Progress
"Leading Environmental Indicators," a report published by Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, a San Francisco-based think tank funded by a number of major corporations, shows ecological health rallied dramatically since 1970. Data collected over the past 25 years show reductions in emissions and ambient quantities of air pollutants such as sulfer dioxide which has dropped 25%. Declining just slightly nationwide, groundlevel ozone has diminished dramatically in U.S. cities. The number of cities exceeding the federal ozone standard dropped from 97 to 56 between 1990 and 1992. (Garbage Magazine)