I’ve just tried this carbon calculator for kids. It’s easier to use than the adult versions because you don’t need to know exact figures but I suppose, for that reason, it isn’t as accurate either. It does give a pretty good picture of where you stand on doing your bit for the environment though.
What I found interesting - assuming the figures can be trusted - is that if everybody were to live like Brits, we'd need 3.2 earths in order to support the average person’s lifestyle. And despite my efforts, we’d still need 2.2 earths if everybody did the same as I do.
I suppose it shouldn’t really come as a surprise; I’ve known for a long time that we Brits, along with the rest of the industrialised west, are inconsiderate of the needs of the rest of those sharing the planet with us. We want what we consider a decent standard of living while much of the world struggles to find fresh water, adequate clothing and food. Hopping in the car to nip to the supermarket is something much of the world can't even imagine, as is sticking the washing machine on, turning over land to the luxury of growing flowers, etc etc etc.
But, according to the carbon footprint calculator, we’re far from the worse offenders. The average Australian needs 3.6 planet earths but Americans need 5.3!! That I really found shocking. Yes, we all know that the average American jumps in his car at every opportunity and that they have huge fridges but five point three???
Just because we’re not the worse doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels though. Our German neighbours only need 2.5 so are outdoing us considerably on the green front; the Japanese are slightly lower at 2.4; and Mexicans are at 1.4. Not that any of those figures are good enough - we do only have 1.0 to 'play with', after all.
People in India and China are both below needing one planet but that could be because there’s such a large percentage of poor there, who aren’t contributing much to environmental problems simply because they can’t.
It's clear that if the human race is going to survive on this planet, we must learn to lower our own consumption and start sharing more.
I predict the following:
- Food and fossil fuel prices will sky rocket, forcing us to lower our consumption (what we're experiencing now will be nothing compared to future prices)
- We'll have to start growing more of our own produce whether we like it or not and re-learn to cook from scratch
- When we do plant flowers, they'll need to be native species in order to support important insect life
- Meat production will cease and the land used for arable crops instead
- 'Mend and make do' will once again become the norm
Sharon J xx