Thursday, 11 November 2010

we only have one planet...

Nowadays if you don’t have the facebook application on your mobile device it’s like you’re living in the Stone Age. The same thing goes for your active involvement in saving the planet, you know…green stuff.

So I got involved.

While visiting the WWF’s website I started the application that helps you understand your energy consumption and CO2 emissions, my own personal footprint calculator. I got a little excited at first but soon wondered what the hell was I doing?
There are some questions that I couldn’t quite understand their point but I’ll always wonder, since that question was not included in the questionnaire, if it counts whether you recycle or not using the local selective collection programs (and I am sure those programs are not available for all communities worldwide). Some general guidelines of recycling emphasize that by recycling 50 kg of paper you get to save one tree. And that counts in my opinion.

But the big disappointment came at the end of this test, when results were revealed. And since I live in Italy, at least for now, the test itself was adapted to the Italian lifestyle.

Apparently the amount of CO2 I put out yearly is somewhere around 15,9 tons. For just one year? How do I manage to do that? But how do I do it is of no importance because I am, according to the information on WWF’s website, way above the Italian average emission which is around 9,2 tons of CO2 per year/person.

And that is something I seriously argue.

I remember this as an example of their involvement… Radiohead playing in Milan, in 2008. We were a little late because of an incident on the highway…and therefore, me and my friend, decided to go for a parking space downtown, close to the event site. When we got there we had a terrible shot of reality. No parking spaces available. Everywhere you looked there was a car. Even on the sidewalks. So, we’ve missed the beginning of the show trying to park the took us about half an hour. Later, talking about this experience, this one guy said to me: “that wasn’t so environmental friendly from you…to take the car at a Radiohead concert and trying to park it downtown”. Now, I know that this decision is quite the opposite of the band’s statement regarding the pollution, but it was sort of a crisis. And I wonder…all those cars parked there, where mine as well? When you go to see a concert by a band who militates for saving the environment, all of the sudden you get involved…but only by talking. Because probably that guy who criticized my decision…had the car parked right close to the gates of the event…

And this is just one example….I am not about to enumerate right now all those environmental discussions I’ve had, that ended with a “what the fuck do I care”…

Anyway…I was intrigued by this poor score and I started to think that there may be 2 possibilities…

Maybe the data introduced by the ones who made the test is not that accurate, since …you know…we live in a green era and getting a great result at this kind of things its a must. That way you can sleep well at night thinking that you did your part.

The other thing that pops into my mind is that this result is slightly exaggerated, in a negative way of course, as a measure to determine people to take action.

So, to get back to the point, according to this, the worldwide average emissions of a person is somewhere around 5,6 tons of CO2 per year and while the average emissions of an Italian is around 9,2 tons, mine is 15,9 tons! Jesus…am I a bad guy?

I guess so, because apparently I am using the resources of 4,2 planets!

Wait a minute… What? 4,2 planets? So I guess if I were to live alone on this planet….to consume whatever it is that I consume in terms of food, energy and everything else…if I were to use my car to drive around on an empty planet I would still destroy the earth? This planet can’t sustain me even if I live alone? No…I’ll need 4,2 planets just for me!

Now that’s another thing I seriously argue…

Being seriously stressed by this issue I started to ask myself…what is this all about?

Is this about saving the environment? Because if it is…why do us like individuals have to get involved and really make changes to improve life on earth while big companies or governments care about their money first of all? Who made this way of life possible? Who exactly said we need to develop our society up to the point where this development is actually killing us?

Take as an example the overall result of the recent Copenhagen environmental summit. That’s what governments, who can actually make a difference, do for saving the planet. As a curiosity…in the mid 80’s the US environmental budget was around 2 billion USD/year …nowadays the Obama administration proposed a budget of $10.5 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency! And still little is done.

Take as an example what airlines companies, especially the low cost companies, do for saving the planet. They offer you the possibility to balance the effect of the carbon emitted from your flight by paying an extra tax (the amount varies or does not exists). That’s ok I guess….if you want to get involved…but what happens if a passenger decides not to pay the extra money?  Does the company itself balance the impact their flight has on the planet? I guess not.

Take as an example what cars companies do for the environment. For the first quarter of 2010 Audi Ag has reported a 25,9% increase of their new cars sales, toping Mercedes Benz with their 248 500 new cars sold. BMW is still number one in the premium segment while Volkswagen Group sold more than 3.5 million cars in the first half of 2010.  And that means a lot of money. Still…little is done. The difference between a Euro 2 engine, sold in late 90’s and the beginning of 2000, and a Euro 5 engine, sold today, is somewhere around 20 – 30 grams of CO2 / km. That’s all they can do in ten years time.

And the list of examples can go on and on…

I for one…I have to resent the result of this so called footprint calculator. I admit that my way of living has an impact on the planet but I am definitely not destroying it just because I own a car, I buy an electronic device every 5 – 6 years, I eat tomatoes during winter and I travel once every 2 years by plane.

And most of all…people usually accept what their told to do. I can assure you that if we didn’t had gigantic 3d led plasma whatever tv sets…we won’t be missing them. If we didn’t had millions of bottled sodas to choose from…we would pick out just the one that it is. If we didn’t had to live in a system build around short terms loans…we wouldn’t feel this urge to change our car every 3 years… And so on…

So right now…I think that if I were to get involved, to do something for the environment I would very much like to do absolutely nothing. And I have just one reason for doing nothing…this way, I am sure we are all going to suffer the consequences of our way of living, and one day it will all be simply vanished. And while in hell paying for our sins…you’ll be crying for your money and I’ll be smiling for justice is finally done.

I choose to simply care. 

 mankind’s most beautiful creation …came a little late - Tulcea county, 2010

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