Our Pale Blue Dot



“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives … on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”  –Carl Sagan, 1994

Distance of Voyager 1 from Earth
when it captured the iconic
“pale blue dot” photo on Feb. 14, 1990
3.7 billion miles Source: The Atlantic Image: NASA JPL
Size of Earth in the "Pale Blue Dot" photo .12 Pixel Source: The Planetary Society Image: NASA JPL VIEWS ON YOUTUBE OF
1,108,412 Source: YouTube/Carlsagandotcom Image: Eduardo Castaneda/Library of Congress
Estimated number of planets
supporting intelligent life in the galaxy
36 Source: CBC Image: Creative Commons - CC0
-81°F Surface temperature of Mars Amount of breathable air on mars None Source: The Atlantic Image: Creative Commons - CC0 Time it takes for light to travel from
Sirius, our closest star, to Earth
Four Years Source: BBC Image: Creative Commons - CC 3.0
Time it takes to travel from
New York City to Martha’s Vineyard, by ferry
Five Hours Source: Seastreak Image: Creative Commons - CC 3.0
Rough distance monarch butterflies fly from
Northeastern U.S. to Mexico to migrate each fall
3,000 miles
Source: New Yorker Image: Creative Commons - CC 3.0
Average thickness of Arctic sea ice
in 2020, compared with 1980's
50% Source: National Observer Image: Patrick Kelley, US Coast Guard - CC 2.0
Mass of human-made materials
to living biomass in 1900: 3%
Mass of human-made materials
to living biomass in 2020: >100%
Percentage of earth’s biomass
made up of plants: 90
Source: Nature Image: Creative Commons- CC0
Amount of the world’s oceans that are in
fully/highly protected zones
Number of countries/territories that have
protected at least 10 percent of marine areas
Percentage of protected U.S. marine area 2.7% 52 26 Source: Marine Protection Atlas Image: Creative Commons- CC0
Number of marine mammals estimated to die
each year from ingesting microplastics
Percentage of microplastics in the ocean
estimated to originate from our clothes
Year in which the E.U. plans to require
microplastic filters on all new
washing machines
100,000 35 2025
Source: UNESCO, Nature, European parliament Image: Wolfram Burner- CC 2.0
Estimated amount of carbon
emitted by global aviation in 2019
Number of passengers served by
Martha’s Vineyard Airport in 2019
Number of passengers served by
Martha’s Vineyard Airport in 2020
918 tons 50,351 15, 657 Source: ICCT, MVTimes Image: Gabrielle Manino
Percentage of world’s
sandplains grasslands
that are on the Vineyard
and Nantucket
Number of bird species
of conservation interest
in Massachusetts that are
highly dependent on
sandplain grasslands ecosystem
90 7 Source: MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Image: Stacey Rupolo
Percentage of Martha’s Vineyard’s transportation energy use made up of diesel ferry fuel Anticipated percentage of Washington State ferries, the largest ferry system in U.S., that will be plug-in hybrid by 2040 11 90
Source: MVTimes Image: Rich Saltzberg
Percentage of global
greenhouse gas emissions
from shipping: 3
Percent reduction
in global greenhouse
gas emissions if
sails were used: 30
Source: MVTimes Image: Creative Commons - cC0
Estimated percentage of reduction in
global carbon dioxide emissions due
to COVID-19
Estimated percentage of decrease
in global greenhouse gas emissions
during economic crisis of 2008
Estimated percentage increase in
global greenhouse gas emissions in 2009
7 1.5 5
Source: NOAA, Washington Post Image: Creative Commons - cC0
Percentage of MV Times “Minute” readers
polled who own or are planning to purchase
an electric or hybrid vehicle: 38.8
Percentage of “Minute” readers who have or are
considering solar power for their homes: 63.3
Percentage of “Minute” readers who have adopted
sustainable practices (cutting down on plastic)
in the past two years: 77.1
Source: MVTimes "Minute" Newsletter Image: Creative Commons - CC0

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Leslie Garrett
Leslie Garrett has written for the Washington Post and The Atlantic, among others. She writes frequently on environmental and social justice issues, and is the author of The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Shopping Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World (and one our kids will thank us for!). Her Bluedot hack? “My clothesline! Is there anything lovelier than slipping between crisp, line-dried sheets that smell of fresh air and sunshine at day’s end?

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