July 19, 2019

In Search of Lost Screen Time

“More than three-quarters of all Americans own a smartphone. In 2018 those 253 million Americans spent $1,380 and 1,460 hours on their smartphone and other mobile devices. That’s 91 waking days; cumulatively, that adds up to 370 billion waking American hours and $349 billion.

In 2019, here’s what we could do instead.

In most Western states, that $1,380 you spent on your phone could buy half an acre of land. In the right conditions, that half acre could easily accommodate 150 trees. A single tree sequesters 48 pounds of carbon a year. It takes about 30 minutes for an amateur forester to plant a tree. If every American smartphone owner used that time and money to plant half an acre of trees, we would sequester about 886 million tons of carbon a year, enough to offset more than 10 percent of the country’s annual emissions. If you don’t want to do the planting yourself, the National Forest Foundation says it could meet all of its planting goals if every smartphone user gave it just 60 cents.”

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