I know we shouldn’t have done it … but we did.. we did the same carbon footprint calculator that was shown on ‘it’s not easy being green’ . I knew I would end up ranting at the computer screen.. I knew it would be silly.. and I did, and it was.
We used the figures for himself, as he drives to work part of the week, and therefore the worst. 2.1 planets. Better than many on the show, but still pretty bad. It’s supposed to make us think, and change our wicked ways. But It just made me rant!
First off we lose out because we eat meat. I have been long time cynical at the claim that meat eaters are to blame – I can see where they are coming from, you can grow grain and eat it, or grow grain and transport it to another farm to feed to animals.. extra footprint. And then the animals are supposedly farting away … and so on.. but really…. a vegan who, say, eats a lot of imported goods.. perhaps soya from Brazil etc, compared to a meat eater who only eats local produce…. I mean.. its a bit sweeping to just award clever points so vaguely? And anyway, the lamb we raised last year ate only grass.. the only food miles were to and from the local abattoir.
We lost out because we bought a new drill recently. First power tool in many years. but this is nonsense isn’t it? because if we had paid someone else to do the work instead of DIY, we would have been ok… and that other person could have bought as many power tools as he liked – not our footprint… (and he could have driven here from miles away in his gas-guzzling sports car too!)
We lost out because we don’t largely buy organic. I have to ask is there enough organic for everyone to buy organic anyway? but I don’t, because we grow most of our own veg, eggs and some of our meat – we are not ‘organic’, because to be able to use that title… we would have to be registered, and we are not. So we grow our own, don’t use any petrol chemicals in the sowing, growing or harvesting, we even cut our wood by hand, and we don’t use any manufactured fertilizers or chemicals. but tough.. that’s not in the questionnaire. We get a pat on the back for buying locally.. but hmmm is that the whole point. if I were to buy a lot out of season exotic food,that’s been flown in,but buy it locally, that’s ok? If I were to buy organic air freighted from the other side of the world vegan food I would get a gold star?
We lose out because himself drives to work. We have a small diesel car. He does not take the bus or train. There is no bus or train to his place of work, he works at home half the week. My score would be lots better because of this, as, apart from the occasional trip out, we only walk, or stay at home. I would still be penalised for not taking the train or bus! – But this made me think.. I only work part time, from home – as the rest of the time I home educate my son. Of course this means there is no school run either.. but I digress. I realised that a person who did not work, or in fact do much, would have a much better carbon footprint – but we can’t all do that… someone has to be providing… being a drain on society should not be rewarded with an eco pat on the back.
We lost out over heating, as we do have gas. We also hand cut wood and keep ourselves warm using the woodburner.. but there wasn’t a mixed option.
The test did not make me want to alter anything, and I’m not sure what it achieves – it made me rant of course!, but we did not conclude we should change anything (apart from changes we already are in the process of making) . It’s not that we don’t care about the world.. we certainly do, and we are trying .. but this test is just .. annoying. We tried the test again, putting in false figures choosing the best answers.. the lowest we could get it to was 1.47….so it seems it is impossible to get down to the perfect 1 anyway. Is this just because we live where we live? the infrastructure etc? So far from making me feel we can change, it all feels defeatist.. but mostly, as it is so easy to pick holes in it, it’s a bit daft.