Adam Lowe

Adam I. Lowe is a freelance environmental researcher based in Washington, D.C.

Wet's the Matter?

1.1 billion — the number of people worldwide who lack an adequate and safe supply of water for their daily needs, approximately one in five 5 million — the number of people, mostly children, who die each year from illnesses caused by poor-quality water supplies 5 — the minimum number of gallons of water needed to meet a person’s daily needs, according to the World Health Organization 4.5 — the average number of gallons of water consumed daily per person in Haiti in 1995 24 million — the number of people in Bangladesh estimated to be drinking water from arsenic-tainted …

Bean Counting

3,300 — number of cups of coffee that are consumed each second worldwide 6.3 million — metric tons of coffee produced in the world in the 1999-2000 crop year 25 million — number of farmers who grow coffee worldwide, the majority on small-scale farms 600-800 AD — the era in which an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi reportedly discovered coffee after observing that his goats become very excited upon eating coffee berries 60 — percentage of Ethiopia’s export earnings derived from coffee sales in 1995 40 — percentage of coffee-growing lands in Colombia, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean that …

Fool's Gold

125,000 metric tons — estimated amount of gold mined worldwide since historical times 2,500 metric tons — amount of gold mined worldwide in 1998 360 cubic feet — amount of waste rock removed in order to produce enough gold to make an average pair of gold wedding bands 31 — number of fatalities in gold mines in the U.S. from 1994 to 1998, an average of 1 death per 54.2 metric tons of gold 1,634 — number of fatalities in gold mines in South Africa from 1994 to 1998, an average of 1 death per 1.6 metric tons of gold …