The Latest

How green is my footprint?

EarthHave you ever wondered how many planets it would take to sustain all 6.6 billion humans on Earth at your rate of consumption? Yeah, me neither. But it’s an interesting question.

And to get the answer, American Public Media has created Consumer Consequences, an online "game" where you can calculate how sustainable your lifestyle really is. It’s called a game to make it sound fun, but sometimes seeing the reality of the situation isn’t all that fun. Oh, to be in denial!

However, getting that jolt that wakes me up to the consequences of my consumption could be fun if I decide to change or just fine-tune my behaviors.

At home, I’m keeping an eye on my energy usage, turning off lights when not needed, charging my laptop in the car when I’m driving (no one ever talks about that greenhouse gas saver!), not driving to the store each time I feel an urge. Unfortunately, my need to drive a car is not negotiable. There is virtually no public transportation where I live, and the so-called bike lanes are death traps. That’s my fault for wanting a rural lifestyle.

For food, there’s good news and bad news. I eat vegetarian, so don’t fatten any cows for me. But I do drink coffee, and the survey says that "after oil, coffee is the commodity most heavily traded, and highly traveled." Anyone grow local coffee?

My shopping habits are great! I barely know where the malls are. And our recycling bin gets more action than our trash bin.

Still, after playing this "game," I find out the sad news: 3.7 planets would be required to support all humans at my current lifestyle.

The main culprits in my score are my auto emissions and coffee consumption. I hear that the price of solar panels will drop sharply by 2010, and that’s also when electric cars will be coming back — let’s hope not to be killed off this time. So, shortly, my roof could power my car. And the coffee? I’ll work on it.

How did you score?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.