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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Eco-Footprint

Years ago, when I was attending high school here in the US for the 11th grade, we took the kind of class for which American education is famously known, that of the "elective" variety, namely:

Environmental Studies

Back in England, my classmates at my old school were busy taking mandatory classes in Latin, Classical English Lit, Physics and Rhetoric, but me, I was knee-deep in the Everglades with my Ecology teacher and class, studying the natural habitat of the Florida mosquito.

(Do you know that man actually made us get off the school bus, roll up our trousers, and WADE INTO the Everglades swamp, at the mercy of gators and spiders alike...just so that we could be in closer communion with nature? God, I hated that man)





Since it was an "honours" class, we didn't have a final exam.

Rather, he made us make a careful tally throughout our class time, of exactly how many flushes and toilet paper consumption we used in our daily lives at home, including trying to keep tabs of our parents' loo usage (!), handing that in as a term paper for our class grade.

Do you know how embarrassing it is to ask one's parent if he or she just took a tinkle, and how many times they flushed afterwards?

Not to mention having to inquire if it was Number Oneseys, or Twoseys, to predict the amount of paper wasted in the process.............

Of course, at the end when I handed in my term paper, I gave my teacher all these flash cards with my notes about our recycling, our flushing, our paper consumption, the better to impress him, which was TOTAL TOTAL B.S.

I actually appended an epilogue where I thanked the teacher for his concern with the environment, which I claimed had motivated me to better conserve our precious resources, yadda yadda.

And yes, I got an 95, apple polishing paying immediate dividends, as ever.

I thus preserved my perfect 4.0 average, with the outrageous cynicism that only a high school student can have about the process, of having pulled one over on the dumb-as-nails teacher.

But you know, the fact of the matter is that ever since that class which I found a complete waste of time, and a laughingstock compared to my intellectually-challenging classes back in England, I HAVE been more aware of our environment.

Hardly an eco-warrior, I am however, always happy to recycle everything in my house, such as what it is, considering we rarely throw away tins, glass, and barely newspapers since only dad reads them now (I read papers online, exclusively).

In this, I quite lead my parents by example, since neither are particularly eco-conscious -- even given my father's penchant for turning off lights, even when you're in the room, reading.

But that's because he's cheap, not a Greenpeacenik.

I will hold off one more day, before this post becomes truly relevant tomorrow. You'll see. Until then, here is another fun quiz which I found, which you may like to take.

Quick, easy, no registration, and possibly educative. Find out your...

ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT

Having tooted my own horn about my eco-awareness, it still came as no shock to find out I'm one wasteful, spoilt, uncaring Westerner.

My results:





The world is going to hell in a handbasket, my friends.

And, apparently, I'm gift-wrapping it.

P.S.: Oh yeah. I guess, thanks Mr. Cunningham for making me aware of our environment.

I suppose your class wasn't as ridiculous now, as I remember it. Although I blame you for having to take remedial Physics in the 6th form.

IN THE COMMENTS: Elko, my blogger colleague, suggests you take this quiz if you have lived in other areas, to see if your results vary from location to location. His certainly showed a wide margin of difference!

My point being, that the eco-footprint is determined to a greater extent by where you live, and the lifestyle it imposes on you, than by the lifestyle of you being you.

An excellent point.

Labels:

14 Comments:

  • I got 3.6 planets.

    By Blogger Kullrad, at Sun Mar 04, 05:43:00 am GMT-5  

  • How many for Al Gore, you think?

    By Blogger JSU, at Sun Mar 04, 11:34:00 am GMT-5  

  • Not bad, 2.8 planets. I will go celebrate with a drive to McDonald's!

    By Blogger Renato, at Sun Mar 04, 02:25:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I got 3.6 planets.

    Dude, I need to start flushing less.

    What is it that you DO, Kully, to make it so little?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Mar 04, 03:10:00 pm GMT-5  

  • How many for Al Gore, you think?

    I would be DELIGHTED to find out.

    But then, you of all people JSU, know about Al Gore's $30,000 electricity bill, right?

    And the fact that ONLY NOW is his house being fitted with solar panels...as I told Renato, I have a friend who had solar panels in her house in 1980. WTF.

    More anon.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Mar 04, 03:13:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Not bad, 2.8 planets.

    Ma che cosa...this is nuts. I do a lot for the environment!

    What are you guys doing that I'm not...

    I will go celebrate with a drive to McDonald's!

    Super Size Me!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Mar 04, 03:15:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hmm, i had 2.4 planets. But at the risk of sounding cynical - there's a bunch of third-worlders to compensate for me, at least according to this test. Ah well...

    By Blogger madcynic, at Sun Mar 04, 03:53:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Vicky, did you try how you would fare if you still lived in London? I just did the test for my three places (as you may not know, in the US I live on Long Island and in Baltimore ;). As was expected, Long Island tops the waste with 6.3 planets, followed by Baltimore with 4.6, and last comes Sofia with 1.9. Absurdly, my enjoyment of living in these places is inversely proportional to their eco-footprint.

    (afterthought - I just checked that when living in Memphis in '95-'98, the footprint was 3.6, and when living in Columbia, MD in '98-'01 it was 4.1; and the enjoyment ratios hold too! weird).

    My point being, that the eco-footprint is determined to a greater extent by where you live, and the lifestyle it imposes on you, than by the lifestyle of you being you.

    Cheers,
    Elko

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Mar 04, 04:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hmm, i had 2.4 planets. But at the risk of sounding cynical - there's a bunch of third-worlders to compensate for me, at least according to this test. Ah well...

    Okay, this worries me.

    What is it that you and others are doing, Malte, that I am not?

    I don't cook my own food (it's exclusively market or restaurant-bought), but surely that can't account for everything.

    I suppose my automobile usage, and lack of pedestrian/bicycling skills does up my eco-quantities, though...

    Hey, no one walks in Florida. It's too damn hot!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Mar 05, 01:13:00 am GMT-5  

  • Vicky, did you try how you would fare if you still lived in London?

    Good point! Excellent point in fact.

    It's one of those common sense points, that often escape one even though its staring one in the face.

    Otherwise known as genius. ;)

    I just did the test for my three places (as you may not know, in the US I live on Long Island and in Baltimore ;). As was expected, Long Island tops the waste with 6.3 planets, followed by Baltimore with 4.6, and last comes Sofia with 1.9. Absurdly, my enjoyment of living in these places is inversely proportional to their eco-footprint.

    (afterthought - I just checked that when living in Memphis in '95-'98, the footprint was 3.6, and when living in Columbia, MD in '98-'01 it was 4.1; and the enjoyment ratios hold too! weird).


    Wow, I just can't imagine things would be so different with the SAME person, in relatively similar areas...

    My point being, that the eco-footprint is determined to a greater extent by where you live, and the lifestyle it imposes on you, than by the lifestyle of you being you.

    I will update the post with this exact comment. Thanks, Elkitch. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Mar 05, 01:15:00 am GMT-5  

  • "Okay, this worries me."

    I hope not.

    By Blogger JSU, at Mon Mar 05, 02:45:00 am GMT-5  

  • What is it that you DO, Kully, to make it so little?

    Err...dunno.

    Live on my own, don't fly anywhere, don't drive my small car much, small house and garden.

    By Blogger Kullrad, at Mon Mar 05, 05:17:00 am GMT-5  

  • What is it that you and others are doing, Malte, that I am not?

    Well, I don't drive cars alone, I travel by tram 10-50 km per week. I hardly produce waste.
    I suppose I might have interpreted the food question differently from you. Most of my food is not packaged AND imported, but most of it is packaged. Oh well...

    By Blogger madcynic, at Tue Mar 06, 07:18:00 am GMT-5  

  • How is English Lit taught in Britain? In the U.S., we have to endure the dreaded 3-point essays and write endlessly about symbolism. We are forbidden to use the verb "to be" and must be anal retentive regarding verb tense. And the very worst part: we have to endure four years of it.

    Of course, I must bear in mind that you are female and you gender doesn't seem to mind the English gauntlet as much as males.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 07, 04:31:00 am GMT-5  

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