Finally, I've gotten a good look at a new method for indexing the ecological impacts of global trade, which is contained in 'Bioregional Solutions', a Schumacher Society briefing (available only in print).
Never mind that I had to ship this small book from the other side of the planet. It was worth it.
Why? Because the Foreign Exchange Earnings per Transport ton of CO2 (or FEET Index) is a marvelous tool for helping us think about the ecological footprint of the products we consume.
In essence, FEET compares the financial gains in the country shipping the product with the emission gains in the country receiving it.
To make a long story short, FEET clearly demonstrates that less developed countries should produce higher value-added products for global shipment, while bulky commodities should be produced locally where possible.
Specifically, this means that producing craft items (like good wine) and intellectual property (software, for instance) is by far a better deal for a developing nation (both in terms of cash and climate) than clearcutting its forests and turning them into charcoal. Not to mention a far better deal for the planet.
According to BDG's calculations, high value, non-perishable goods like wine, craft items etc that can be shipped by sea came out very well.
Software and intellectual property came out extremely well.
Cheap bulk commodities like wood and charcoal sucked.
Don't you wonder how Hawaii would fare with a FEET assessment?
Now that I see how it's done, think I'll give it a whirl.
Film @ 11...