Environmental Footprint

I once worked in a large garden of a mansion, along with some other gardeners. We all got there separately by car, thus generating pollution. So here is a conundrum. Whose environmental footprint is it? Do we attribute the pollution count to the owner of the mansion who has such a big garden that he needs several gardeners, or does the pollution “belong” to the gardeners.

I still don’t know the answer. It seems difficult to separate it all out. Whenever we try and keep a count (an account) of how much each individual is contributing (as with money), or polluting (as with environmental footprint, or “carbon credits”), there are always some tricky areas. Then we have to invent loads of new rules to cover all eventualities. And then it all gets manipulated by the people at the top for their own ends.

I recently got into a debate about China, and was informed that they are the biggest polluters in the world. I wondered if the Chinese pollution was per person, or per country? Because I thought the worst offenders were the Saudis, and United Arab Emirates, followed by the US, on a per capita basis. Maybe the Chinese pollution is due to the fact that they make so much stuff for the rest of the world, such as shoes, and £425 million quids worth of Jubilee bunting. If I buy a T-shirt made in China, is the pollution thus created on my environmental footprint, or that of the Chinese?

The green debate is quite interesting. Somewhere along the line, it has been turned into consumerism. And products have been created, so that we can now go green shopping. It has become fashionable, and almost revered. George Bush junior has loads of green technology at his massive Texas ranch, but I find it hard to believe he is helping the planet. Lots of rich people are going for it. And it’s starting to be rolled out for poorer people as well. Before long it will be compulsory, and we will all have to buy it.

It seems to me that the biggest drain on our resources, and the biggest polluter is consumerism. The rich people consume the most, even if what they are consuming is green technology! Plymouth, UK has one of the lowest environmental footprints per person, and this is because they are poor. No doubt African villagers and South American tribes people will have the lowest pollution rates of all, and that’s without any need for green technology.

Living more simply, and buying less, is the simplest greenest way of going green, which really means to take care of ourselves and the planet. Truly “green” behaviour threatens the financial markets and economic growth, and this is why it is so discouraged.

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2 Responses to Environmental Footprint

  1. george silver says:

    If you believe that evolution is a pre-detirmined game then humans are are a perfect result of nature expressing it/her self. We are part of nature. The planet Earth has no “skin in the game” as the Americans say. It doesn’t care one way or the other. The Earth could just as well be like Mars, Venus or Mercury. Unfit for human life. It’s only humans that care about the environment. It could be argued that all life is just a mould that should be eradicated. We could be parasites that eventually consume their host and die. I favour the latter. The planet existed for millions of years without life and I’m sure it will exist for millions of year after life has gone.
    If a virus has the capability of thought I’m sure it feels important and has a God.

  2. suliwebster says:

    Possibly humans care about the environment as a reaction to humans destroying it.
    I see the planet and all it’s inhabitants as part of the same interacting interconnected whole. Everything is a lot of interacting particles. Some of them happen to be human particles, some of them planet particles, and the particles change roles from time to time. I see the Earth as alive, and it responds to how it is treated. If it is treated well, it functions better. I am not sure how the soul fits into the scheme.
    I don’t think my view is necessarily any more right than anyone else’s.
    I have read stuff that says that Mars was once like Earth, inhabited and providing. And it was once on the orbit that the Earth now is. Which means things could change again, as you say, and Earth will become the next Mars. So many possibilities!

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