Sunday, April 08, 2007

Results of People's Carbon Emissions Tracking Part II


The weekend is coming to an end and I am happy to report that another of the March Green Drinks attendees decided to pass along her thoughts on her carbon emissions. Not to make too much of this, because the sample size is so small, but is it interesting that the only two people that have followed through on the "Carbon Challenge" are women? I know at least one male did some work on it, but I have seen none of his writing on it to share.
I've extracted a few comments from Kim's two pages of narrative on her experience tracking carbon emissions.
"According to an average of several tests online that I took, I emit 1519 pounds of CO2 per month. I drive 300 miles per week-far more than I would choose to ever drive, my oil bills are high, and my electricity bills could be lower. These are all aspects I would like to change, but being able to change them is a whole other thing."
This may seem like a lot of carbon, but I bet it's lower than the average American consumer.
"The most frustrating part of this ordeal? The most frustrating part was not discovering my CO2 emissions, but the most frustrating part is discovering that my CO2 emissions could be even higher if the online tests were more inclusive. See, these tests only include the most tangible factors in our ever-growing fast-paced, convenience-friendly society. Sure, some tests included whether or not you use plastic, paper, or canvas bags, but failed to ask questions which probe into our consumer-driven lifestyles. Out of the tests that I found online, and bear in mind that I did not exhaust all search possibilities, I could not find a single test that was easily accessible that included factors such as how often one goes out to eat or where one’s food comes from or what one purchases. All of these factors have a huge impact on the overall threat of global warming, yet every test that I found in my not-so-extensive search failed to mention the impact of our choices as consumers on global warming. One test asked how often one recycles, but that same test did not even ask how often one purchases post-consumer recycled products."
The fact that she put in the effort to think about her activities' impact on our world reflects an awareness of her surroundings most people are not going to have. As with anything that involves businesses or consumers, "carbon counting" has to be easy, convenient, understandable, solve the consumers' problem, and if possible make people money.

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