Eating Ourselves Out of House and Home

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Interesting that American Public Media should have started its series “Consumed” today.  For some time now, but becoming even more pronounced in recent weeks, is a growing sense I’ve had that we have finally begun to see the results of our (unsustainable) consumer culture.  For everyone on Earth to consume the way the average American does would take six Earths, if I remember the quote correctly from one of the segments.  And, according to one of those interviewed, we are 30 to 50 years from no one on Earth living a first world lifestyle (or New World, I suppose).

Was Chicken Little an optimist?

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2 thoughts on “Eating Ourselves Out of House and Home

  1. Okay, so I went to American Public Media’s “Consumed” web site and used their self-evaluation tool to see how many Earths it would take if everyone lived the way my family and I do. I was pretty smug going in, knowing that our transportation situation would probably not fare well, but thought we would do pretty well otherwise.

    6.2 Earths. That’s the size lifestyle we’re living right now. For the sake of disclosure, I don’t completely buy the outcome of this tool. It doesn’t go into nearly enough detail but, when you’re talking about Earth and the lifestyle choices and consequences of 6.6 billion inhabitants, how precise does it need to be? Seriously, whether our actual score is 5.3 Earths or 6.2, the point is that we are living a lifestyle which is out of proportion to the rest of those living on the planet (no surprise there), and that it cannot be sustained (ditto).

    So, what to do? We’ve already replaced a bunch of incandescents with CFLs (I could do more). I try not to buy too much stuff (can’t say the same for everyone else in the household, sorry to say), and I try to buy locally produced food when I can. But there’s not much I can do about the size of our house (since it was built about 150 years before we bought it). Nor can we do much about our commuting and transportation situation. There is no mass transit where we live, my wife’s job is about 30 miles away, and I really do sometimes need to carry eight people and their stuff. Okay, not very often, but don’t get me started on auto manufacturers and their “inability” to build more fuel-efficient passenger and cargo carrying vehicles with all or four-wheel drive.

  2. Pingback: Eating Ourselves Out of House and Home on House and Home

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