As a natural result of tooling around online and reading about greener ways of living — I looked up the website for Consumer Consequences: the interactive website that tells you how many Earths would be needed if everyone lived like you do.
Frankly, I think it’s a useful thing to take a look at, but I don’t put that much store by it.
For the record, I plugged in some numbers based on my predicted living methods when I go to Boston, upon which it told me that we would need 3.1 Earths if everyone lived like I did. If I used the numbers for when I’m living at college, it would be 2.7.
It’s useful, yes, but only so much as it reminds me to live more lightly on the Earth and doesn’t plunge me into depression.
I think, the simple fact is that the Earth has way too many people. I’m not saying: “Oh hey, it’s all hopeless and we’re never going to get the result of 1 Earth unless we all start living on communes and farming our own food — so let’s all just screw it and do whatever we want.”
But, at 6.6 billion people on this planet — really, what can we do to make it so the results get down to 1 Earth? I got down to 1.1 Earths by almost never leaving the house, walking when I did, and eating all vegetarian. At that point, I said: “Fuck it, this is ridiculous.”
I’m willing to try and do my best, but I draw the line at where life becomes not-fun. Although I try to eat vegetarian most of the time, I like my bacon once in a while. I also like steak once every so often. The need for commuting isn’t going to go away, and neither am I going to sit at home all night after work and twiddle my thumbs because buying books involves cutting down the Amazon and going out to the movies consumes too much energy.
Also, if you really think about it — having kids is really bad for the environment. Throw-away Pampers, anyone? And you’re essentially bringing someone else into the world to help consume it, and what’s even worse is that you might raise a kid who is a veracious carnivore, who hates recycling, and was born to shop.
In the end, sure there’s some entitlement going on — but I’m not going to make my life a study in asceticism just because there’s 1.3 billion people in China alone and India close behind.
Not that I’m bashing those two countries — they have so many problems regarding population and they know it. Neither am I saying: “ZOMG, white man’s burden!”.
But the question isn’t always as clear cut as edifying yourself.