We eat an average of 100 bananas a year, per person. Over a typical lifespan, that means we eat 8,000 bananas. The average banana is about 8 inches long, so that’s basically a length of bananas that is almost exactly 1 mile long. Almost 1 mile exactly. And that is where this starts. With 1 mile.
I sneezed twice on Saturday, once during dinner at a friend’s house. Everyone stopped and looked at me, so I wondered how often we sneeze. On average we sneeze 20 times a week, which means we sneeze 60,000 times in our life. We sneeze when when we’re alone, when we’re in company, when we’re sitting in bed reading. Whenever.
And on that note, in an average lifetime, it’s said that we read under 100 books. I’ve read more than that, and I’m sure you have too. Because I’ve sat in bed reading books and sneezing many a time, and sometimes I’ve even done so while chewing on a banana.
But there are other things we can do in bed. The average male loses his virginity at 17; the average female at about the same age. Women have an average of 4 sex partners in their lifetime, men have 7. So how did the average man find extra partners like that when the average woman doesn’t want them?
We produce 10,000 gallons of saliva in a lifetime. That either does or does not have anything to do with the above point.
Have a look at this: http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/chart1.pdf.
If we work 8.8 hours/day and sleep 7.7 hours/day, that leaves 7.5 hours for The Other Stuff. I’m always curious about The Other Stuff. If we have children, we have less time for them than for any other main activity; we spend four times more time with our co-workers than we do with our children. So what exactly is a family these days? By the time you get home, you’ve got maybe 2 hours a day left for the kids. And of the non-work hours, you’re going to spend an average of 4 of those hours per day watching TV, so that’s not necessarily quality time with the little ones.
You might take 70,000,000 steps in your lifetime. I hope some of these steps are with our kids, outside, in the rain or the snow, in whatever weather our world is going to throw at us.
But when you’re not walking, you’re driving. And you’re going to drive 650,000 miles in your lifetime, and use 32,000 gallons of gasoline. Every gallon is going to emit 9 kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, so that’s almost 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide in your lifetime just from driving. We complain about carbon taxes and greenhouse gas credits, but at the voluntary market price of credits in North America, the extra cost applied to those 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide is about $150. That’s how much we value the effort to reduce greenhouse gases.
We will drink 15,000 gallons of water in a lifetime. An Olympic-sized swimming pool is 600,000 gallons (40 times what you drink), but you’re going to shower 30,000 times in your life and that will take 700,000 gallons, which is basically that swimming pool. So the water that washes over your body as you shower could provide enough drinking water for nearly 50 people.
In your life:
You’re going to go through 10 washing machines and 8 microwaves but 15 computers.
You’re going to use 200 toothbrushes.
You’re going to eat 2.5 tonnes of beef (that’s 4 full cows).
You’re going to produce 200 kilograms of banana peel, which could make 70 kilograms of compost if you let it.
You’re going to fly in the sky 40 times.
You’re going to own 12 cars.
You’re going to live in 10 homes.
You’re going to die once.
And you’re going to get in a car crash every 18 years. The insurers know this. They keep track. Driving is the most dangerous activity you do, by far, on an everyday basis. And you do it while eating. Talking on the phone. Texting. Applying make-up. Falling asleep.
And listen. 9,000,000 children under five die every year in developing countries. That’s 3.4 x 10^12 hours those kids won’t spend with their 3 kids if they’d had them. That’s untold gallons of water and puffs of diesel fume that aren’t necessary. That’s a trillion trillion dreams that won’t come true. And yes, none of our first world problems and statistics really cover these children. They are left to lie quite quietly in whatever dusty stretch of land that we can find.
Speaking of first-world statistics, the average family size is 3 kids, and that is the hopeful part of everything, because you’re going to try like hell to raise them right so that they can save the world. Our kids are going to have it worse than us, no doubt. They will. But does it really seem like they will make wars to the extent that we have? That they will stop caring about our planet or about people in other countries? That they won’t learn anything from us? I don’t think so. I think our kids can get away with eating only 1 cow in their lifetime, using only 10,000 gallons of gasoline, watching only 1 hour of TV a day. They might even be okay with showering less so that someone somewhere can actually have a drink of water that won’t make them sick.
But they can sneeze all they want.
And writers. An average of 1,500 words a day written over 40 weeks a year, 5 days a week, a 40-year writing lifetime, that’s 12,000,000 words total. And that means I just used 0.0082% of my allocation writing this. That seems so small.
And as for bananas… Tropical Race strains are out there (http://news.msn.com/science-technology/is-it-time-to-say-bye-bye-to-the-banana), and we don’t know if there will be bananas for our descendants. Imagine that, whole generations born without bananas, kids who grow up not knowing that there was once a fruit that came with its own, easy-to-remove, biodegradable packaging that didn’t require one ounce of fossil fuel to create.
Quite a number of the estimates used for this post came from here: