Monday, October 02, 2006

Go on a Low-Carbon Diet?

How low can an individual go? Seth Zuckerman goes on a Low-Carbon Diet to help answer that question.

I decided to try three carbon dioxide diets. First, that of the typical American. I would see how my consumption measures up to the national average and attempt (briefly) to burn as much fuel as my fellow citizens. Next, I'd investigate what it would take to bring my emissions down to the world average, the level of countries such as Jamaica and Romania. Finally, I'd try to produce no more than my share of what Earth's natural systems can handle.

He finds that as an individual he does not have control over his full share of carbon emissions. Industry's carbon emissions, the source of the electricity we use, poor public transportation and lack of affordable fuel efficient vehicles are all out of one person's control.

Interesting, in light of the debate after this week's Big Picture on CBC: Can We Save Planet Earth? Putting all the onus on individuals won't work when the consequences of our actions are distant and intangible. For every Prius one person buys, another buys a Hummer. Industry will make whatever people will buy, and people will buy what industry advertises. It's a circle that needs to be stopped, and voluntary self-regulation just isn't working.

People, we can't shop our way to sustainability.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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