Dear 7 Billionth Baby: Some Lessons on Your 2nd Birthday

October 28, 2013 • Climate Change & Mitigation, Protection of Species, Daily Email Recap

Dear 7 Billionth Baby: Some Lessons on Your 2nd Birthday

Dear Baby 7 Billion,

You don’t remember, but when you were born two years ago this week, your arrival was a pretty big deal: You were, after all, the 7 billionth person on the planet.

You’ve had a busy couple of years for the environment, especially if you were born in the United States. By your first birthday, you already generated more carbon emissions than a Tanzanian will in her entire lifetime.

And it’s not just carbon you’re generating. If you’re like the majority of American babies, you’ll go through as many as 6,000 disposable diapers before you get the hang of the potty. American children also get more than 40 percent of the world’s toys. That might sound fun (especially if you haven’t learned about sharing yet), but toys — along with diapers — have a tendency to wind up on beaches and in the ocean, which is harmful to marine animals.

Seven billion people mean a lot for the planet. You’re only two years old, and already the world has changed from the day you were born. Wild animals are losing habitat to development, livestock production, oil and gas drilling, pollution and climate change at unprecedented rates. You may think your grandma is as old as the dinosaurs, but you have a lot more in common with T-Rex than she does: You were born into the largest mass wildlife extinction crisis since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

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