I spew out nearly 40 tons of CO2 per year which is 7X the world's average and much more than the US average of 27 tons. The questionnaire covers such topics as how much I drive, the size of my house, my recycling habits and whether I eat organic food and meat. The lowest I can get my carbon level is 9.6 by following all their recommendations of becoming a vegetarian, never traveling by plane, and always driving a hybrid car, etc.
Here's my problem with this and all such carbon footprint calculators: they never ask how many offspring you have. The number of progeny an individual produces definitely would increase the amount of carbon used by the family for energy and other things, assuming the kids lived in Western civilization. Kids will eat meat, need clothes and heat, and some day they will likely drive cars and travel in airplanes and have kids of their own. Yet, none of this is taken into account when figuring someone's carbon footprint versus an individual who has never procreated.
In fact, my personal score improves if my wife and I were to have 2 kids living in our house instead of just the two of us. Using this twisted logic, a guy my age with six kids in my smallish house and using my car would actually be considered to be saving the planet with his lifestyle!
I fully understand the compelling urge to reproduce; we are all the result of the natural process of evolution that has selected out the most successful reproducers. Our limbic systems are hard-wired to make more of us. But let's just realize that these kids will all spew carbon into the atmosphere for 80 years and they will likely have kids themselves who will do the same and this should be factored into the carbon footprint calculation. It's eery how scientists, journalists, conservationists and citizens of every stripe never see this huge discrepancy with footprint calculations and happily go along thinking that if they cart around their passel of a dozen kids in a hybrid Escape then all is well. (Pets, too, generally eat meat and require heat and shelter, although to a much lesser extent than children.)
|Where's the little pie wedge labeled "kids"|
Although I pump 40 tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year and remain the scourge of Nature.org and every other so-called conservation group, I know my destructive planetary onslaught, unlike most everybody else's, will end in a mere 40 years...
..so, I'll take an extra long, extra hot, shower to celebrate Earth Day.