1% A point of Difference for our Planet

If a monkey can eat a doughnut whilst roller skating, without assistance, anything really is possible.

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4 min read

All great achievements come from small beginnings: Rome wasn’t built in a day, they say, and the Planet certainly wasn’t either. 1% seems like a minor figure, a fleck of dust in the largeness of space and time, but we’d like to argue just 1% can make a major difference to the outcome, from here to eternity. Allow us to explain, to a point.

1% of the world’s population is roughly 78 million (1% of 7.8 billion); this should be self-explanatory – 1% can make a big difference. FYI, 78 million is the populations of France and Tunisia combined… Imagine if all those people stopped using air travel and cars and used bicycles and trains instead. It would surely make more than a 1% difference on the environment… wouldn’t it?

When an ice cube reaches 0ºC (32ºF) it melts, alas 1 degree can be the difference between a solid state and falling apart – needless to say, we can relate this to the polar caps and the dangerously rising sea levels… Just 1º can make a huge difference to the state of your beverage, and the climate…

If a monkey can eat a doughnut whilst roller skating, without assistance, anything really is possible. Speaking of monkeys, or primates to be more scientific, the 1% difference between humans and our closest mammal relations suggests there’s a minor difference between living in the jungle or being able to charter a flight beyond the earth’s atmosphere.

The British got rather good at cycling in the 2000s after being terrible for much of the 20th century, and that’s down to small 1% improvements. Dave Brailsford, the mastermind of British Cycling’s rising star, called it ‘marginal gains.’

‘The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1 per‐ cent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.’
Those 1 per cent increases across the board have led to great successes, such as five Tour de France victories and countless Olympic medals.

1% ABV. The difference between a 12% ABV bottle of wine and a 13% bottle might mean the difference between getting up in the morning or staying in bed and calling in sick. Another glass?


If your dreaded interest rates or inflation goes up by 1% you’ll know about it. Same with those awful things called examinations; 1% off that distinction or pass? Could be life changing… exams really are awful aren’t they.

1% of eight minutes is almost 5 seconds: When you cook pasta just a few moments over, it’s the difference between al dente and soggy spaghetti, and in some parts of Italy the difference between life and death.


Jay-Z rapped about having 99 problems, with the elusive 1 not related to any so-called bitch. Imagine how little time he’d have to write misogynistic raps if he’d had that extra 1%. Oh well.

If a pilot flying from Paris to Gibraltar airport shifted the flightpath south by 1%, the aeroplane would land in the Mediterranean Sea…


If you’ve read this far, you’re in the 1% of people who read to the end of articles. 1% of 590 words is 5.9… so let’s round that figure up to 6 with another short fact: If we all got 1% better every day for a year, we’d be 37% better by the end of that year. No matter how you see things, that’s a big jump. With that in mind, keep making those tiny improvements and do what you can to make the difference.

SOURCE: Cafe Du Cycliste


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