Population growth combined with rising resource use, heavily tilted toward the world's wealthy on a per capita basis but growing rapidly among the expanding global middle class, is reflected in rising worldwide resource consumption.
Organic agriculture: Challenges such as rising farmland prices, inconsistencies in organic standards, and higher prices of organic foods continue to impede a broad global shift to sustainable agriculture.
Overweight and obesity: A survey of statistics in 177 countries shows that 38 percent of adults----those 15 years or older----are now overweight, with trends on the rise across different regions of the world and different income levels.
Auto industry: Auto industry manufacturing and sales are back in action, with China eclipsing all other contenders and producing more vehicles than Japan and the United States combined. Japan, however, had the highest share of hybrid-electric vehicle sales at 11 percent in 2010.
Biofuels: Global production of biofuels reached an all-time high of 105 billion liters in 2010, up 17 percent from 2009, mostly as a result of high oil prices, global economic rebound, and new biofuel-related laws and mandates around the world.
Oil: Global oil consumption reached a new all-time high of 87.4 million barrels per day in 2010. Oil remains the largest commercial source of energy, but its share in the global energy supply has slid for the last 11 consecutive years.
Ecosystem services: In the United States, payments for ecosystem services (PES) transactions total $1.5-2.4 billion annually, helping to restore the ecosystems and biological diversity that provide communities with free yet invaluable services.
Meat: Livestock are responsible for 40 percent of the world's methane emissions and 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions. These greenhouse gases are 25 to 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Factory farming: Factory farming has contributed to a tripling in global meat production over the last four decades. It is associated with heavy use of chemical inputs, the spread of disease, antibiotic overuse and resistance, massive water consumption, and declines in human health.
Population growth: Although fertility rates are falling worldwide, many countries with high birth rates will have to accommodate a rapidly expanding labor force in the next few decades. In Uganda, where women give birth to six children on average, this means needing to generate more than 1.5 million new jobs by the late 2030s.
Grain production: Although preliminary data for 2011 indicate that grain production is recovering from a slump, its revival is being seriously hindered by climatic changes and by rising demand for ethanol fuel, producing ripple effects throughout the economy through increased grain prices.
Nuclear power: Due to increasing costs of production, a slowed demand for electricity, and fresh memories of disaster in Japan, generation of nuclear power fell in 2011.
Wind Power: Global wind power capacity increased in 2010 to a total of 197,000 megawatts, representing a 24 percent increase from 2009. China is in the lead, overtaking the United States in 2010 with 45,000 megawatts of total installed wind power capacity.
Natural gas: Driven by surging natural gas consumption in Asia and the United States, global use of this fossil fuel increased 7.4 percent from 2009 to hit a record 111.9 trillion cubic feet in 2010.