I really like this post over at Slate giving 15 fun facts about the Earth on Earth Day. My favorite is number 14: “If you took all the water on Earth and collected it into a single drop, it would be just less than 1,400 kilometers (860 miles) across.” This comes with a neat visual:
Have dim memories of learning, long ago, that the earth is 3/4 water? Think again, and click here for a more full discussion. From a policy perspective, these sorts of visuals seem useful as reminders of how relatively small and susceptible to human influence many of our natural resources are. This drop includes all our groundwater, frozen ice cap water, atmospheric water vapor, ocean salt water, and anything else I could probably think of adding to this list.
A belief that the world is just too big for humans to mess up undergirds a lot of climate science resistance. (Not all of it, of course.) But is the earth really so huge, when its circumference of about 25,000 miles is less than the distance two U.S. adults typically drive in a year?