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The Human Footprint

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Our Presence Is Earth Shaking

This National Geographic Production makes a striking point: we in the West consume and waste at levels that boggle the mind.

They have calculated how much of a given product a person (US citizen) uses in their lifetime. This mass is then laid out before the cameras along with the resources used. It is visually stunning.

The first product is disposable diapers. It takes 1/2 pint of crude oil per diaper to make the waterproof lining that encases them. There are 18 billion disposable diapers thrown away every year- enough to stretch around the world 19 times. They could take more than 500 years to biodegrade. Before you reach the age of 2 you have had an extremely significant human footprint!

See how many quarts of milk arranged here all together, an average westerner uses in their lifetime.

Did you know that cows alone in the US take up a space the size of Louisiana?

A real eye opener, even for those with awareness of the statistics.

--Bibi Farber

This is an introductory segment of the show The Human Footprint, produced by National Geographic.