live lighter and well: insights from footprinting

footprint from american consumption

Adopting a 100-mile diet could do more to reduce your ecological footprint than all other purchases of 'green' products combined.

That's one of the insights from a new footprinting tool by Chris Jones at Cal that takes tighter account of the energy embedded in specific products (via berkeley inst of env).

Right: our food these days is more about energy than nutrition.

Wudja believe food makes up 17% of the typical American footprint? As much as the typical car. Yikes!

Wot's kewl is that you can cut your food footprint in half through the simple expedient of buying local and organic.

According to Jones' calculator, this one switch in purchasing could save you 4 tons of CO2, whereas you are only spewing 4.5 tons from all your goods purchases (including clothing, equipment, supplies, furniture, personal care, and appliances).

Of course, the big baddies on your footprint scorecard are your principal energy sources: transport and electricity.

Yet, another major insight is this: you need not dramatically alter the rest of your lifestyle to achieve one-planet living.

How'sat work? Try this: use Jones' calculator to test for where the significant footprint reductions can be made.

Bear in mind that the typical American is responsible for 49 tons of CO2 annually, while your sustainable global share is 10 tons. So, you need to figure out how to cut 80%.

Notice that if your electricity were all 'green' that would save 20%.

Getting to zero emissions with your transport would save 40%.

Sheesh! Two moves and you're three-quarters there!

The other 20% in footprint savings can come from eating local (8%), going vegetarian (another 3%), and reducing/recycling your clothes (4%).

See, you're almost to one-planet already.

Wot else can you do to lighen your load? Work at it.

The bottom line is that living sustainably doesn't mean going back to chewing bark.

Of course, ya won't be able to go back to indiscriminate driving and flying around, either...

Published by Ken on September 10th, 2007 tagged Ecological Footprint

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