How relevant is ecological footprint per capital?

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,171
Brassicaland
#1
One global hectare is a hectare of ecologically productive area: forest, grazing lands, croplands, fishing areas.)
The most "luxurious" case is Luxembourg, in which about 16 GHA per capital.
Canada takes the lion's share at about 8 GHA as well.
How relevant is this estimation?
Should developed countries make serious attempts to cut ecological footprint?
 
Jan 2017
414
UK
#2
Trying to reduce carbon footprint can sometimes feel like walking through quicksand:

A: "You can't drive around in that car, it produces too much pollution."
B: "OK I'll ride a bicycle instead."
A: "I cannot allow that either: That bicycle is made of plastic and metal, which was extracted and manufactured in unsafe working conditions which also pollutes and damages the environment."
B: "Public transport then?"
A: "No that's even worse than the car pollution-wise".
B: "Well in that case I'll just walk to work."
A: "Those shoes were made in a sweatshop by underpaid, overworked wage slaves. They're leather too, a poor cow died for those shoes & produced huge amounts of methane during its lifespan. Do I even have to mention all the grazing land required for that cow ?"
B: *shoots himself*
A: "Hey where was that gun manufactured?"

Joking aside, developed countries can only cut their footprint by a certain amount until it starts damaging their economy. Even within countries, asking individuals to cut down their consumption depends on their individual circumstances; income level, whether they get enough protein in their diet, how far their commute to work is e.t.c.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,171
Brassicaland
#4
Trying to reduce carbon footprint can sometimes feel like walking through quicksand:

A: "You can't drive around in that car, it produces too much pollution."
B: "OK I'll ride a bicycle instead."
A: "I cannot allow that either: That bicycle is made of plastic and metal, which was extracted and manufactured in unsafe working conditions which also pollutes and damages the environment."
B: "Public transport then?"
A: "No that's even worse than the car pollution-wise".
B: "Well in that case I'll just walk to work."
A: "Those shoes were made in a sweatshop by underpaid, overworked wage slaves. They're leather too, a poor cow died for those shoes & produced huge amounts of methane during its lifespan. Do I even have to mention all the grazing land required for that cow ?"
B: *shoots himself*
A: "Hey where was that gun manufactured?"

Joking aside, developed countries can only cut their footprint by a certain amount until it starts damaging their economy. Even within countries, asking individuals to cut down their consumption depends on their individual circumstances; income level, whether they get enough protein in their diet, how far their commute to work is e.t.c.
A few reasons for the high ecological footprints in Canada, Australia, and United States:

1) The extreme long commute to work.
2) Urban sprawl
3) Distances for foods and products to reach the markets.

Many of these are geographical reasons; then, individuals can do something to reduce the footprint.

1) Reduce reliance on automobiles; one reason that public transit is better is because of its large carrying capacity.
2) Consider living closer to the workplaces if possible.
3) Use more local products and produce.
4) Reduce consumption; many of our homes are filled with clutters; I consider my association with materials temporary.
 
Mar 2018
373
UK
#5
Should developed countries make serious attempts to cut ecological footprint?
Of course. Literally all the evidence makes it clear that the current way of producing and consuming resources in the world is unsustainable in the long run (ie, several decades). This is exacerbated by the otherwise very good news that lots of people outside of the west are leaving poverty and living much better lives, but producing and consuming more resources at the same time. If we want our grandchildren to have as good a quality of life as us, we really have to be less destructive to our environment. The trick is how to do that with the absolute minimal sacrifice to our standard of living and the luxuries we enjoy. Luckily, lots of the things that cut are ecological footprints also improve our quality of life.

This isn't about being a tree hugging, it's simply about making small short term sacrifices for our *own* long term benefit.
 
Mar 2018
373
UK
#6
Trying to reduce carbon footprint can sometimes feel like walking through quicksand:

A: "You can't drive around in that car, it produces too much pollution."
B: "OK I'll ride a bicycle instead."
A: "I cannot allow that either: That bicycle is made of plastic and metal, which was extracted and manufactured in unsafe working conditions which also pollutes and damages the environment."
B: "Public transport then?"
A: "No that's even worse than the car pollution-wise".
B: "Well in that case I'll just walk to work."
A: "Those shoes were made in a sweatshop by underpaid, overworked wage slaves. They're leather too, a poor cow died for those shoes & produced huge amounts of methane during its lifespan. Do I even have to mention all the grazing land required for that cow ?"
B: *shoots himself*
A: "Hey where was that gun manufactured?"
Of course this is a joke, but it highlights important issues. Firstly, measuring carbon footprint is a very difficult task, at least as hard as for economists to calculate GDP. This means that there's just enough wiggle room for some people to say that it's not worth doing something because there's always a draw back. This also leads in the other direction: plenty of hipsters/hippies/yuppies who are more into virtue signalling than caring about the actual consequence of their action. Lastly, there's a cognitive bias against quantifying and weighing things up: producing a bike does have some ecological impact obviously, but much less than driving a car. Our minds don't see that so easily they just draw up a for-and-against list with one item on each column while struggling to note that one is much more important than the other.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,171
Brassicaland
#7
Of course. Literally all the evidence makes it clear that the current way of producing and consuming resources in the world is unsustainable in the long run (ie, several decades). This is exacerbated by the otherwise very good news that lots of people outside of the west are leaving poverty and living much better lives, but producing and consuming more resources at the same time. If we want our grandchildren to have as good a quality of life as us, we really have to be less destructive to our environment. The trick is how to do that with the absolute minimal sacrifice to our standard of living and the luxuries we enjoy. Luckily, lots of the things that cut are ecological footprints also improve our quality of life.

This isn't about being a tree hugging, it's simply about making small short term sacrifices for our *own* long term benefit.
The sad fact is that the human lives more or less mean ecological footprints; then we should consider lowering our impacts on Earth.
If an average Luxembourgian takes almost twice the resources of an average Canadian, should we be thinking?
Luxembourg is a very small state; commute should not be an issue.

Of course this is a joke, but it highlights important issues. Firstly, measuring carbon footprint is a very difficult task, at least as hard as for economists to calculate GDP. This means that there's just enough wiggle room for some people to say that it's not worth doing something because there's always a draw back. This also leads in the other direction: plenty of hipsters/hippies/yuppies who are more into virtue signalling than caring about the actual consequence of their action. Lastly, there's a cognitive bias against quantifying and weighing things up: producing a bike does have some ecological impact obviously, but much less than driving a car. Our minds don't see that so easily they just draw up a for-and-against list with one item on each column while struggling to note that one is much more important than the other.
As I have mentioned previously, we can lower our ecological footprints realistically.
For example, the choice of meat matters here as well, for example, bovines are known to be major carbon producers.
Will it matter if people choose goose dairy and poultry over bovines?
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,426
#8
As I have mentioned previously, we can lower our ecological footprints realistically.
For example, the choice of meat matters here as well, for example, bovines are known to be major carbon producers.
Will it matter if people choose goose dairy and poultry over bovines?
What is goose dairy?

Aside from that not owning a vehicle, forgoing air travel, and eating almost entirely plant diet is the main way to reduce ecological footprint. I can see technology solving vehicle ownership in the next 20 years as not only Uber and Lyft type services become common but car sharing becomes more normal and almost a small investment for some people. Air travel is simply too convenient and alternatives are generations of research away so that if anything is likely to expand usage hugely probably nearly offsetting gains in less owned cars (since miles travelled by car will still grow with car sharing). Plant based diet is not a technology thing but cultural and despite the growing popularity less than 6% of the population currently eats that way with vast majority in India doing so for religious reasons.
 
Likes: VHS
Mar 2018
373
UK
#9
What is goose dairy?

Aside from that not owning a vehicle, forgoing air travel, and eating almost entirely plant diet is the main way to reduce ecological footprint. I can see technology solving vehicle ownership in the next 20 years as not only Uber and Lyft type services become common but car sharing becomes more normal and almost a small investment for some people. Air travel is simply too convenient and alternatives are generations of research away so that if anything is likely to expand usage hugely probably nearly offsetting gains in less owned cars (since miles travelled by car will still grow with car sharing). Plant based diet is not a technology thing but cultural and despite the growing popularity less than 6% of the population currently eats that way with vast majority in India doing so for religious reasons.
There are other things. For example better insulating your house to reduce the need for heating/air conditioning. That's an initial investment but saves money in the long run. Samething about installing heat pumps when appropriate. Even if you have your own car, choosing a hybrid over a large 4x4 will have an impact. Not having a large dog as a pet makes a huge difference too. The biggest change you could make is having fewer or no children, but that's far too big a sacrifice for most people.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,171
Brassicaland
#10
What is goose dairy?

Aside from that not owning a vehicle, forgoing air travel, and eating almost entirely plant diet is the main way to reduce ecological footprint. I can see technology solving vehicle ownership in the next 20 years as not only Uber and Lyft type services become common but car sharing becomes more normal and almost a small investment for some people. Air travel is simply too convenient and alternatives are generations of research away so that if anything is likely to expand usage hugely probably nearly offsetting gains in less owned cars (since miles travelled by car will still grow with car sharing). Plant based diet is not a technology thing but cultural and despite the growing popularity less than 6% of the population currently eats that way with vast majority in India doing so for religious reasons.
I mean goat or sheep diary vs bovine dairy; bovine industry is a major green house gas producer, and bovine dairy is NOT necessarily the most wholesome or healthy food.
Public or mass transportation means lower emission per capital.
 

Similar History Discussions