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Tipping the scales


Thought I’d figure out my carbon weight for the day.  You know, like counting calories.

This was a bigger undertaking than I expected. As far as I can see, there is no carbon information available for food products. This is not entirely surprising; to get this information, you need to track the product from inception to disposal, a process that is expensive, time consuming and not really demanded. Which is unfortunate, because what we eat is a major contributer to our overall footprint, and one of the easiest things to change. That is, if we know its impact.

So…I had to generalize.

Using a carbon calculator, I figured out, the average American impact from food, which is 4.1 Tons of CO2/year. I eat a lot, so I need to jack that slightly. But I also ate a lot of organic today, and little meat. So let’s say the two balance.

So, my impact from food we’ll put at 4.1 tons/365 = 22.4 lbs. Apparently there are 2000 lbs in a US ton. Weirdos.

It was a warm day, so the heat was off. Cali-forn-i-a.

Transport is essentially zero thanks to my two-wheeler.

I cooked two meals, but I think that’s included in my food number.

I did laundry, wash and dry =   Wash = No idea.  Dry =5.2 (found somewhere on the internet)

I had a shower = 2.75 (avg of about 1000 lbs/year). Oh, that doesn’t count the soap. Let’s call it 3.

I had a shave = No clue. There’s some hot water, shaving cream, razor. But it’s getting way too complicated. If I shower is 3, call it 1.

I had my room lights on for four hours, the living room for an hour and the kitchen for an hour = ?????

This got way too hard. Which is really unfortunate. I was picturing some sort of database website that made this really easy, like this great site for nutrition: nutritiondata.com. Simple behavior changes can account for something like 30% of the total reduction our planet needs. But I think it would be a lot easier if we had a better idea of what those impacts were, so, like with weight loss, we’d have a baseline, something to improve on.

This can be done in a general sense with calculators like this one: http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/

These are good, but you’d need to completely overhaul your life to see any improvements on them.  We need to be more precise if our daily actions are going to register.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I need a job.

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