sitewide statistic and data sources



Data point: Did you know that the average American lifestyle is kept afloat by 2,000 gallons of water a day—That’s twice the global average.

Source: National Geographic Water Footprint Calculator—




All sources of the data points included on the Change the Course infographic are referenced on the National Geographic website—




Data points: The Colorado River Basin spans 7 states—Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, New Mexico, and Wyoming—and Mexico. It provides drinking water to 36 million1 people and is the irrigation source for more than 5.5 million2 acres of farmland across seven states. Additionally, hydroelectric facilities along the river generate more than 4,200 megawatts3 of generating capacity helping to meet the power needs of the West and offset use of fossil fuels.

Sources: 1-3 Source: U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation—

Data points: Water is embedded in everything we use, wear, eat and buy, so yes, it takes about 2,000 gallons4 of water a day to keep the average American’s lifestyle afloat. A simple cotton shirt takes about 700 gallons of water to make—most of it to grow the cotton out in the field. Our water use at home, indoors and outdoors, averages about 100 gallons5 per person per day. And even though this home use is only about 5%6 of our daily water footprint, conserving at home is important because it helps protect the rivers and lakes in our communities.

Sources: 4-6 Source: National Geographic water footprint calculator methodology and sources—



EXPAND YOUR CARBON KNOWLEDGE / How to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint

“GET EFFICIENT” Data points: The average U.S. home uses 10,908 kWh annually. Since 1978, the average U.S. households’ share of residential electricity used by appliances and electronics has nearly doubled to 31%. You can reduce your electricity use by unplugging your nonessential appliances and electronics when not in use.


“BUY RECYCLED, UPCYCLED OR RECYCLED” Data points: A standard cotton knit shirt produces approximately 23,400 lbs of CO2e from the production of the cotton, to textile manufacturing and consumer use. Be a conscious consumer. Buy less stuff in general. When you do need to make a purchase of goods or clothing, buy recycled or upcycled options wherever possible. Shop local to save on the GHG emissions associated with shipping.



“EAT LESS MEAT” Data points: Choosing a lentil burger over a hamburger would reduce your carbon footprint by 96.67%. Even opting for turkey could reduce your carbon footprint by as much as 59.6%.




EXPAND YOUR CARBON KNOWLEDGE / What’s in Your Carbon Footprint

“HOME” Data point: The average U.S. home uses 10,908 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually to power our appliances and electronics. Depending on your geographical region and your local utility’s resource mix, your electricity use can represent up to 33% of your carbon footprint.



“DRIVING” Data point: The average American passenger vehicle travels 11,493 miles a year, which is equivalent to the release of approximately 10,582 pounds of CO2e emissions into the atmosphere annually.



“AIR TRAVEL” Data point: A 3,500 mile flight (such as from Los Angeles to Chicago, round trip) produces approximately 2,275 pounds of CO2e when accounting for radiative forcing.


Radiative forcing definition—Flying has other detrimental effects, in addition to carbon emissions.  Radiative forcing is a multiplier that is added to the carbon emissions factor, that quantifies these additional effects; including the fact that emitting GHGs in the upper atmosphere has a greater heat-trapping effect than emitting GHGs at ground level.  To learn more about radiative forcing,visit the IPCC’s report



Data point: And did you know the average American household puts out more than 48 metric tons (or 105,840 pounds) of greenhouse gas emissions each year just from their home, cars, flights, food and consumer choices?

Source and methodology: Cool Climate Network, University of California, Berkeley—