“Green-ness” and Calculating Carbon Footprints

A journal entry in response to the “I am Green” application in Facebook: 

“Green-ness” and Calculating Carbon Footprints by you on (2007-12-27 13:00:56)

Great for creating awareness, but the “numbers” can be COMPLETELY inaccurate and therefore quite deceiving. Eg, how does using a digital camera merit a “green leaf”??? Using no camera at all MIGHT. You still need electricity to power up those rechargeable batteries, right? Yeah, yeah, perhaps as an alternative to the old 35mm it MIGHT because of film, developing pictures, chemicals and other resources involved, etc, etc… But I still wouldn’t give that digicam a green leaf.

And how does recycling newspapers versus NOT recycling newspapers offset some of your household emissions in the calculations when NOT buying newspapers at all, which means not using those energy and resource inputs and generating waste outputs in the first place, has no effect on the calculations? Isn’t that the “best” option in terms of being “green”? Yes, not generating the emissions in the first place? Sometimes I question “off-setting” emissions. So, yeah, I guess I recycle the nonexistent newspapers that I don’t get.

Call me cynical because I am… I love the accuracy and precision of numbers, but I can’t help but always be skeptical of stats and calculated numbers that people are always quoting. They are only as good as the raw data used to generate them and the type of analyses used to make sense of that raw data.

Having said that…

These calculators are a good start in raising awareness of how we as individuals and how we as a collective society are affecting our shared environment. I don’t consider myself particularly green. I am not a rabid environmentalist. I think just living your life so that you’re not always trying to catch up to/keep up with/overtake the Joneses on that treadmill of conspicuous consumption makes you pretty “green” already.

Ah! Which reminds me! 1000 square feet of living space per person earns a leaf in this “I Am Green” application??? Who set that incredibly high limit??? Craaaazy. And I have other issues with other “leaves”…

BUT… Again… Great Facebook application; it raises awareness! We have to start somewhere.  It made ME more conscious of these issues and of things I can personally do in my everyday life to minimize my negative impacts on the planet.

Now I just need to be a little more financially solvent so that I can choose more of these greener alternatives to more major things in my life…

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