Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Carbon footprint calculator

I visit the WWF carbon footprint calculator, and after confessing to a multitude of sins, I get this feedback:

You're living as if we had 2.96 planets to support us. Although you are below the UK average, we obviously only have the one!

Your top new eco-tips...

  • Food: Buy more seasonal food

    Did you know: Although we could meet over 70% of our eating needs from food grown in the UK, we import more than half of the food we consume. Buying locally-grown, seasonal food would mean we could reduce our food miles, use less packaging to preserve fresh produce, and not least help us reconnect with the annual patterns of seasonal produce.

  • Travel: Walk instead of using other modes of transport

  • Home: Turn down the heating in rooms which you are not using

  • Stuff: Avoid over-packaged products

Actually, I was surprised to be below average. But, none of the questions that I was asked related to how many children I have. This comes at a time when we are told (in today's BBC news web site) that the UK's population will reach 65 million by 2016, and in a recent article will reach 75 million by 2051.

This raises the obvious question: Why exactly bother with all these other carbon-saving measures? If there is no end in sight to population growth, the only logical conclusion is the environment is destined for catastrophe whatever we do. There's no point in aiming for some target level of carbon emission, if that target will have to reduced by X percent in order to take into account a population increase of X percent! I might also make the obvious point regarding seasonal food (above) that population increase in the UK makes it impossible to buy food that is either local or seasonal. (Eventually, it makes it hard to buy food at all...)

Perhaps the carbon footprint calculator should ask you how many kids you have, and if it's more than two, it should say: Sorry, you are living as if we have an infinite number of planets to support us...

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