Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For May 08, 2011

Estimated number of gallons of water the average person would save with each shower by pledging to take the Earth Lovers Three-Minute Shower Challenge, according to the Michigan State Government Water Conservation website: 50

Roughly, number of gallons of water per minute that a typical showerhead uses: 7

Percentage of consumers who believe that they could get clean in a three-minute shower: 53

Source: The Body Shop International.

Estimated number of cigarettes that are smoked in the United States on an annual basis, according to Legacy, the national public health foundation: 360 billion

According to environmental cleanup reports, number of cigarettes or cigarette filters/butts that were picked up last year in the United States alone: 1 million

Rank of cigarette butts on the list of most littered items in the U.S.: 1

Source: Legacy.

Year Anna Jarvis, the driving force behind Mother's Day, organized observances in Grafton, W.Va., and Philadelphia, according to the Census Bureau: 1908

Number of stay-at-home moms in the U.S. in 2009, down from 5.3 million in 2008: 5.1 million

Percentage of married-couple family groups with children under 15 that had a stay-at-home mother in 2009, down from 23.7 percent in 2008: 22.6

Rank of Mother's Day on the list of the largest card-sending holidays in the United States, with 141 million cards exchanged annually, according to Hallmark: 3

Source: Census Bureau.

Percentage of employees who admitted to coming to work somewhat frequently when feeling under the weather, according to an Accountemps survey: 76

Percentage of workers who said that when a colleague comes in sick, they worry most about being exposed to his or her illness: 34

Percentage who are impressed by their coworker's dedication: 8

Source: Accountemps.

Percentage of global citizens who definitely believe in a "divine entity," according to a poll conducted by Ipsos for Reuters News: 51

Percentage who believe they will just "cease to exist": 23

Percentage who simply "don't know" about a hereafter: 26

Source: Institute Ipsos MORI.

Percentage of Americans who want to read books selected by popular daytime talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, according to a survey by Sony: 25

Ranks of Bill Gates (18 percent), Warren Buffett (13 percent), Michelle Obama (12 percent), star athlete Tom Brady (8 percent), Matt Lauer (6 percent) and Oprah Winfrey (1 percent) on the list of other in-demand sources for book recommendations: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Source: Sony Pictures Television International.

Percentage growth in the U.S. organic food industry in 2010, while total U.S. food sales grew by less than 1 percent, according to findings from the 2011 Organic Industry Survey: 7.7

Value of the organic industry in 2010: $28.6 billion

Percentage of organic companies that reported positive full-time employment growth: 40

Source: Organic Trade Association.

Percentage of Americans who will find out from mom what she wants before shopping for a Mother's Day gift, according to a survey conducted by Toluna and released by Buy.com: 35

Ranks of a day at the spa (23 percent), gift cards (20 percent) and "something homemade" (17 percent) on the list of moms' top gifts: 1, 2, 3

For moms over age 55, ranks of gift cards (38 percent) and a new computer (25 percent) on the list of the most desired presents: 1, 2

Source: Buy.com.

Approximate number of tires that are consumed as fuel every year, according to Liberty Tire Recycling: 10 million

Percentage more energy than coal (while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 19.5 percent) that is provided by tire-derived fuel: 25

Potentially, the number of barrels of crude oil that would equal the energy produced by all of the scrap tires produced in the U.S.: 13 million

Source: Liberty Tire Recycling.

Percentage decrease in directory paper demand over 2009, due in part to things like upgraded consumer websites, residential white pages, consumer choice programs, smaller book sizes and more efficient pagination systems, according to the Local Search Association: 8.1

Total percentage decrease in paper demand since 2007: 35

Percentage of the solid waste stream represented by telephone directories, significantly less than office paper (2.2 percent): 0.3

Source: Local Search Association.

Idle Thought

"There are many people who reach their conclusions about life like schoolboys; they cheat their master by copying the answer out of a book without having worked out the sum for themselves." -- Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)