Sunday, October 12, 2008

Some Interesting Info About Carbon Footprints

There is lots of talk these days about carbon footprints. In simple terms a carbon foot print is the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that get put into the atmosphere when the goods are made, shipped and stored, and then used by consumers.

The not fun news is that the U.S. emits the equivalent of about 118 pounds of carbon dioxide per resident every day. Annually that’s nearly 20 metric tons per American – about FIVE times the number per citizen of the world at large. Yikes! So we really have some things we can change and I hope we all do - one step at a time.

The little bit of trivia (but not to be considered trivial!) about carbon footprints came from the good old Wall Street Journal last Monday. It’s the measure of six products and six carbon footprints. So here goes: Fleece Jacket – 60 pounds; Laundry detergent – 31 pounds; Boot – 121 pounds; Organic Milk – 7.2 pounds; Car – 97,000 pounds and last but not least – Fat Tire beer – 7 pounds. Without writing a three page blog, I can’t provide you will all the details of how the author measured the emissions but I can tell you he (Jeffery Ball) did his homework. Just one example of how thorough he was is his breakdown of laundry detergent. He based it on a 1.5 liter bottle, 20 loads per bottle and 9.9 pounds of laundry per load. Included in his measurement were making, using, transporting, storing and disposal of the package. It may seem like too much information but the more we know in simple, plain old English, the easier it will be for all of us to make simple changes.

The entire subject of carbon footprints fascinates me so this article was a great find. I can feel guilt free about drinking organic milk and will think twice about buying another pair of boots. All in all, articles like this are raising my consciousness one thought at a time.

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