Living a Sustainable Life - NPR calculator

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Living a Sustainable Life - NPR calculator

Postby knight427 » Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:30 pm UTC

Living a Sustainable Life. This will allow you estimate how many Earths would be required to support your lifestyle if everyone lived like you. After you are done, you can see which areas in your life are most demanding on resources, compare yourself to others across various demographics, and go back to see what a difference a few changes could make.

My family requires 5.4 Earths given our current lifestyle. The largest contributor for me was driving (I have a long commute). However, I was able to coax it down to 3.1 by making some adjustments I felt I could actually live with. Most of that change however came from proclaiming I would support new national polices which didn't seem very likely to pass anytime in the near future.

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Postby Ketzerei » Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:20 pm UTC

I got a 2.6, but I think that's mostly because I'm a student and thus have no commute. My biggest hit was in food: no meat does not make up for few vegetables, apparently. Interesting little program though; I always like doing these footprint things.
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Postby Umlaut » Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:41 pm UTC

2.9?! Shit, I gotta step up my consumption before it's all gone... Of course, I obviously don't think that making sure everyone gets to live like me is really my problem, so I'll just mosey on my way...

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Postby TheStranger » Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:44 pm UTC

yea, 6.1!!! (lots of commuting, large house, ect...)

In all seriousness... while it is a curiosity, it does not seem very useful... not everyone would live the way I do even if they had the opportunity. 'ell my lifestyle is so expensive due to the nature of the area I live in and the nature of my work.

I cant stand living in cities, so a long commute is virtually required. Others don't mind or even enjoy living in cities, so they have a much smaller commute. Still others work in fields that do not require working in a built up area, and so their commuters are correspondingly smaller.

Those that are under my control I do act on. I recycle as much as I can and very rarely buy new things (I cloths shop maybe once a year, owned my last car for 10 years, ect...)
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Postby knight427 » Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:56 pm UTC

Umlaut wrote:2.9?! Shit, I gotta step up my consumption before it's all gone... Of course, I obviously don't think that making sure everyone gets to live like me is really my problem, so I'll just mosey on my way...


"Sustainability boils down to this: Don't eat your seed corn."

Making sure everyone gets to live like you isn't the point at all. The point is to consider how your choices towards consumption and lifestyle impact the planet and the future of civilization. The way we are accustomed to living is not practical given current technologies. If we want people to have similar and better choices of lifestyle in the future, we will need to address these sustainability issues through reduced consumption and increased productivity/efficiency.
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Postby Umlaut » Sat Sep 15, 2007 11:11 pm UTC

Well, why is it a problem though? There is (obviously) only one Earth in use right now, but my lifestyle seems to be working out pretty well for me. Sure, not everyone gets to live this same way (and couldn't all if they wanted to), and since they don't, how is my lifestyle affecting the planet? We are all still just using one Earth, after all.

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Postby 22/7 » Sun Sep 16, 2007 2:31 am UTC

Umlaut wrote:Well, why is it a problem though? There is (obviously) only one Earth in use right now, but my lifestyle seems to be working out pretty well for me. Sure, not everyone gets to live this same way (and couldn't all if they wanted to), and since they don't, how is my lifestyle affecting the planet? We are all still just using one Earth, after all.


I think you're getting hung up on the "number of earths" thing. And if you honestly can't see how your lifestyle is affecting the single Earth we live on, then I don't know what to say to you. You'd have to have lived under a rock for the last 15 or more years to have *not* seen/heard about the negative effects of the lifestyle that we as a world have chosen to pursue.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sun Sep 16, 2007 2:40 am UTC

I was holding steady at 0.8, until we got to my car :( It's not my fault I live far from work! That brought me up to 1.9, and my diet brought me up to 2.4 (I like beef, but I get it ALL from the farm, I don't think they count that very well...) Yeah, in the summary.... BullSHIT it takes me 5 acres to get my food.

So 1.9 to 2.4

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Postby Hawknc » Sun Sep 16, 2007 2:54 am UTC

3.4 for me, but living outside the US makes it difficult to get accurate scores for a lot of things (the pollution generated by our electricity is very different to the US', for example).

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Postby Grlmm » Sun Sep 16, 2007 2:56 am UTC

I dislike the entire thing, as I live in Indiana. 94% of our power comes from coal. I'm at an immediate disadvantage. I hit like 1.9 before I leave house and power. :?

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Postby knight427 » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:11 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:3.4 for me, but living outside the US makes it difficult to get accurate scores for a lot of things (the pollution generated by our electricity is very different to the US', for example).


Everything is based on US averages, so it will barely be an approximation for those of in the US. For you, the best you can do is get a relative idea of which things contribute the most here in the US and use your experience and knowledge to relate that to Australia.

Grlmm wrote:I dislike the entire thing, as I live in Indiana. 94% of our power comes from coal. I'm at an immediate disadvantage. I hit like 1.9 before I leave house and power. :?


Does your power company offer Green power? Many states have programs whereby you can pay a premium to offset your power usage by indirectly purchasing green power. You pay your power company a little higher rate for power, and they purchase that much green power from the energy market. Not a perfect solution, but it does put your money behind renewable energy and hopefully promotes further investment.
Last edited by knight427 on Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:17 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Grlmm » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:51 am UTC

knight427 wrote:
Hawknc wrote:3.4 for me, but living outside the US makes it difficult to get accurate scores for a lot of things (the pollution generated by our electricity is very different to the US', for example).


Everything is based on US averages, so it will barely be an approximation for those of in the US. For you, the best you can do is get a relative idea of which things contribute the most here in the US and use your experience and knowledge to relate that to Australia.

Grlmm wrote:I dislike the entire thing, as I live in Indiana. 94% of our power comes from coal. I'm at an immediate disadvantage. I hit like 1.9 before I leave house and power. :?


Does your power company offer Green power? Many states have programs whereby you can pay a premium to offset your power usage by indirectly purchasing green power. You pay your power company a little higher rate for power, and they purchase that much green power from the energy market. Not a perfect solution, but it does put your money behind renewable energy and hopefully promotes further investment.

Not that I know of. The cut off for DSL (Yes, I have DSL internet) is a quarter of a mile down the road, I barely have cable television (it gets blurry and fuzzy at times), and I have no cell phone service.

I sometimes joke that I barely get indoor plumbing.

Green energy is a long way away from my residence. But the scenery is beautiful.

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Postby Sarcio » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:19 am UTC

Umlaut wrote:Well, why is it a problem though? There is (obviously) only one Earth in use right now, but my lifestyle seems to be working out pretty well for me. Sure, not everyone gets to live this same way (and couldn't all if they wanted to), and since they don't, how is my lifestyle affecting the planet? We are all still just using one Earth, after all.

I hope you are kidding.

The theory behind this experiment is not the relative earth-usage of each person. It is more a hope to enlighten people about the excess to which they consume natural resources, in an attempt to get people to stop being so damned wasteful. A question: if all the metal eventually gets thrown away and ends up in land fills, what will we build bridges out of? recycling, is it so hard? just a small question to think about.


oh, and 1.7 for me.
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:22 am UTC

Sarcio wrote: A question: if all the metal eventually gets thrown away and ends up in land fills, what will we build bridges out of? recycling, is it so hard? just a small question to think about.

Years ago I completely predicted, in detail, how companies would rise sometime after 2020 which actually mined and processed dumps, landfills, and waste disposal sites. They would retroactively recycle the billions of tons of detritus for minerals (especially copper and rebar), cans and glass, circuit boards, and dog knows what else. We shall see!

As soon as I hear about one, I'm buying stock.

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Postby Vaniver » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:24 am UTC

if all the metal eventually gets thrown away and ends up in land fills
Then people will start mining landfills.

(doh, MJ beat me)
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Postby Grlmm » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:24 am UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:As soon as I hear about one, I'm buying stock.

Hear hear.

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Postby Sarcio » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:26 am UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Years ago I completely predicted, in detail, how companies would rise sometime after 2020 which actually mined and processed dumps, landfills, and waste disposal sites. They would retroactively recycle the billions of tons of detritus for minerals (especially copper and rebar), cans and glass, circuit boards, and dog knows what else. We shall see!

As soon as I hear about one, I'm buying stock.

An amusing and dismal prospect. Though i must agree, i'll be buying stock alongside you.
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Postby Vaniver » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:30 am UTC

Sarcio wrote:An amusing and dismal prospect. Though i must agree, i'll be buying stock alongside you.
What makes it dismal?
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Postby Sarcio » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:44 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Sarcio wrote:An amusing and dismal prospect. Though i must agree, i'll be buying stock alongside you.
What makes it dismal?

The simple fact that humanity will have reached such a wasteful new low that we must now resort to digging through our own trash as an attempt to make money because metal has become so precious a commodity we cannot find it elsewhere, is for certain, a dismal thought. I dread the day when that fear is realized.
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Postby Grlmm » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:46 am UTC

Sarcio wrote:
Vaniver wrote:
Sarcio wrote:An amusing and dismal prospect. Though i must agree, i'll be buying stock alongside you.
What makes it dismal?

The simple fact that humanity will have reached such a wasteful new low that we must now resort to digging through our own trash as an attempt to make money because metal has become so precious a commodity we cannot find it elsewhere, is for certain, a dismal thought. I dread the day when that fear is realized.

Or the fact that we will one day get our head out of our ass, and realize the potential of our waste as a new source of goods and services.

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Postby Amicitia » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:52 am UTC

Grlmm wrote:
Sarcio wrote:
Vaniver wrote:
Sarcio wrote:An amusing and dismal prospect. Though i must agree, i'll be buying stock alongside you.
What makes it dismal?

The simple fact that humanity will have reached such a wasteful new low that we must now resort to digging through our own trash as an attempt to make money because metal has become so precious a commodity we cannot find it elsewhere, is for certain, a dismal thought. I dread the day when that fear is realized.

Or the fact that we will one day get our head out of our ass, and realize the potential of our waste as a new source of goods and services.

Actually, it's because the food production rate shudders with respect to the population growth today. Hence, the "dismal" part.

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Postby Grlmm » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:54 am UTC

Amicitia wrote:
Grlmm wrote:
Sarcio wrote:
Vaniver wrote:
Sarcio wrote:An amusing and dismal prospect. Though i must agree, i'll be buying stock alongside you.
What makes it dismal?

The simple fact that humanity will have reached such a wasteful new low that we must now resort to digging through our own trash as an attempt to make money because metal has become so precious a commodity we cannot find it elsewhere, is for certain, a dismal thought. I dread the day when that fear is realized.

Or the fact that we will one day get our head out of our ass, and realize the potential of our waste as a new source of goods and services.

Actually, it's because the food production rate shudders with respect to the population growth today. Hence, the "dismal" part.

My vote on that issue is the removal of warning labels. It weeds out the dim. If you either don't know how to A) keep Drano from a child, or B) not drink Drano, you shouldn't be living or procreating.

But that's just an example.

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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:30 am UTC

Oh, man... Falling Water being hit with a wrecking ball.... dude....

Good talk. Seemed a bit more "common sense" than "mind blowing", but still sweet.

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Postby Maurog » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:33 am UTC

Am I the only one who takes this test not as a guidance to change lifestyle, but more on the lines of "if you want to build a technocratic utopia out of your identical clones, this is how many people you need to kill"? Because I totally am. If 3 earths is what it takes to sustain a world of me's then goddamn, my first thing as the emperor of the world will be sterilizing 80% of the world population to be on the safe side.
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Postby Sarcio » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:40 am UTC

Maurog wrote:Am I the only one who takes this test not as a guidance to change lifestyle, but more on the lines of "if you want to build a technocratic utopia out of your identical clones, this is how many people you need to kill"? Because I totally am. If 3 earths is what it takes to sustain a world of me's then goddamn, my first thing as the emperor of the world will be sterilizing 80% of the world population to be on the safe side.

i'm fairly certain you're alone in that.
on the up side, i'd only have to sterilize about 65% of the population, what with my clones only requiring 1.7 earths.
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Postby Vaniver » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:10 am UTC

Sarcio wrote:The simple fact that humanity will have reached such a wasteful new low that we must now resort to digging through our own trash as an attempt to make money because metal has become so precious a commodity we cannot find it elsewhere, is for certain, a dismal thought. I dread the day when that fear is realized.
Ah. I rarely take demonstrations of human resourcefulness to be dismal; if anything, they are hopeful.

Sarcio wrote:i'm fairly certain you're alone in that.
Nope, I was going to point that out, but decided I didn't want to write a post long enough to justify it.

I mean, why is 6.6 billion humans the magic number?
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Postby Amicitia » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:11 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Sarcio wrote:The simple fact that humanity will have reached such a wasteful new low that we must now resort to digging through our own trash as an attempt to make money because metal has become so precious a commodity we cannot find it elsewhere, is for certain, a dismal thought. I dread the day when that fear is realized.
Ah. I rarely take demonstrations of human resourcefulness to be dismal; if anything, they are hopeful.

Sarcio wrote:i'm fairly certain you're alone in that.
Nope, I was going to point that out, but decided I didn't want to write a post long enough to justify it.

I mean, why is 6.6 billion humans the magic number?

Except that Malthusian economics hasn't been in the current schools of thought for a bit, am I right? It's a bit outdated, since technology improves over time, to put it very simply.

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Postby Vaniver » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:19 am UTC

Amicita wrote:Except that Malthusian economics hasn't been in the current schools of thought for a bit, am I right? It's a bit outdated, since technology improves over time, to put it very simply.
Certain aspects of Malthusian thought are wrong. In nearly every field, our ability to predict future production has been nowhere near as large as the actuality. But, that doesn't mean that will always be true; for example, it's possible to calculate the total amount of energy emitted by the Sun that hits the Earth, and reach a hard cap for the number of humans the Earth can sustain (assuming a minimum energy consumption per person). Once you have a number of humans above that amount, you get starvation until the population lowers to less than that amount.

But, the odds that energy will be the limiting factor in human growth are dismal at best.
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Postby Amicitia » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:32 am UTC

In that case why is everyone being so dismal?

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Postby Vaniver » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:34 am UTC

Amicitia wrote:In that case why is everyone being so dismal?
Sarcio was the one that brought it up, in reference to wastefulness, not as a reference to the dismal science.
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Postby Amicitia » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:45 am UTC

With solar panels/wind, one needs negative Earth. This means I am obliged to harm the planet more, methinks.

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Postby Belial » Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:19 am UTC

3.8. I have failed as a human being. Must take more measures to make up for my carnivorous ways.
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Postby platypus01 » Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:55 am UTC

2.2 earths. but i mostly randomly guessed on things like energy bills. living under my parents' roof, i tend not to look into such things...

biggest hit for me was food. probably the 50% meat. what can i say, i love the stuff.
bleh

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Postby Iv » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:00 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Years ago I completely predicted, in detail, how companies would rise sometime after 2020 which actually mined and processed dumps, landfills, and waste disposal sites. They would retroactively recycle the billions of tons of detritus for minerals (especially copper and rebar), cans and glass, circuit boards, and dog knows what else. We shall see!

As soon as I hear about one, I'm buying stock.


Well, this is in some way what a scrapyard does. But speaking of regular dumps, this already happens.
Copper is apparently the most profitable metal as of today, it even leads to [urel=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_theft]problems[/url]. Here in Paris, I have heard about people stealing kilometers of underground cables to sell them. The situation is far stranger than most people think.

Anyway, back to the test, I got 3.1. Essentially because I never cook at home. But this made me raise eyebrows. How is it that I am more efficient in my small kitchen than a big kitchen in a restaurant ? If I go to a chinese restaurant which cooks 20 kg of rice at once and take a part of that, isn't it more efficient than making my own 200 g by boiling water on a small electrical plaque ? Plus I happen to know that most restaurant here buy locally produced food when possible (bananas come from far away but the beef comes from 100 kms away)

Of course it is America-centric, not metric, bla bla, anyway. There was such a test adapted to France that was made a few years ago. The goal, just like this one, was to promote some "green behaviors" by showing how much earth would be needed for your 6 billion clones. In my humble opinion, it failed because it was impossible to get below 1.0 even making all the wild assumptions possible. This gives people the feeling that they are not in cause, but that the government is, and should provide more public transportation, more green energy, mandate more insulation on housing. That impeding doom was not our fault.

The thing that frightens me the most is that owning a car seems to be the first career objective of every Chinese...

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Postby Nyarlathotep » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:23 pm UTC

Wow, 1.8, but that's probably becuase 1. I don't know how much electricity my house uses, and 2. I can't drive and thus have to rely on my friends/public transit to get around.

*e* Biggest impact comes from food and drink. We recycle practically everything in my home - every glass bottle, every aluminum can, 80% of our plastics and 80% of our paper. Probably the worst things we are about is my dad's SUV (which I don't drive and which is the car I'm in less often - more often it's my mom's hybrid), our electricity consumption (we're all attention deficit and thus forget to turn lights off), and food (while we tend to buy organic, more for taste reasons than any environmental concern, we really love beef)
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Postby Hawknc » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:40 pm UTC

...Buy organic beef? :P

Seriously, I'm pro-environment and all, but there's no way I'm giving up meat. I'll buy green energy, ditch the car for public transport and Flexicar, and buy carbon offsets, but the food chain must remain unbroken!

(And by "food chain", I actually mean "food sink", with humans at the centre)

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Postby Nyarlathotep » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:13 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:...Buy organic beef? :P

Seriously, I'm pro-environment and all, but there's no way I'm giving up meat. I'll buy green energy, ditch the car for public transport and Flexicar, and buy carbon offsets, but the food chain must remain unbroken!

(And by "food chain", I actually mean "food sink", with humans at the centre)


Man, organic beef is fsking expensive.
... but it does taste better.

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Postby Hawknc » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:19 pm UTC

Car sharing, basically. Rent fuel efficient cars when you need them for a few hours or so, no fuel or insurance costs. Perfect for someone like me who plans to live in the middle of the city with plenty of public transport.

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Postby zenten » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:12 pm UTC

I'm at 3.8, most of which seems to come from how much I eat (which is rated at 7).

Oddly enough, I used to be at 0.8 with a worse eating habit, but that was under a different system (done by the Canadian government), and I was much poorer (but I did actually eat much more).

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Postby bbctol » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:29 pm UTC

2.4. Thank god for my green-designed home!


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