The idea was to take the amount of pollution, garbage, energy consumption, etc., the average American produces or uses, multiply that by the population of the planet and see if or when the total would rise above the Earth's ability to support that level of usage.
I never got around to it. But, more and more, I think we might get to find out. This is from the May National Geographic, which focuses on China:
China produces - and consumes - nearly a third of the world's steel, more than longtime industrial powers Japan, Germany and the United States combined.
Authorities have added 171 new pop culture phrases to China's national language registry.
Number of McDonald's drive-throughs in 2005: 1
Number expected by the end of 2008: 115
Coal consumption has more than doubled since 1990, and even the world's largest coal producer can barely keep up. China is constructing the equivalent of two midsize coal-fired power plants each week - adding a capacity comparable to the entire U.K. power grid each year. What does that mean for the planet? China recently surpassed the U.S. in carbon dioxide emissions.
Up until the 1990s, China produced most of the oil it needed to keep its economic engine running, but breakaway growth in transportation and plastics production doubled China's oil consumption. Imports have swelled over sixfold in the past decade.
This flaming drink costs $12 in Guangzhou. Ain't that America.
Image: Randy Olson.