Weekly Mulch: Why’s Your Carbon Footprint So Big?
People are finally realizing that climate change affects more than the weather. From national security to cattle to birth rates, it is clear that “no area of human activity will be untouched by a changing climate,” writes Osha Gray Davidson in Mother Jones. Climate change will pose many strategic challenges to national security, including famine, drought, mass migration, epidemics and massive storms. And while our defense department isn’t synonymous with "environmentally friendly," (How do you think it develops and fuels its weapons?), it is enormously influential. The defense department could effectively encourage other countries to view climate change as a serious problem and help curb its effects.
Although a UN report claims that meat consumption is responsible for 18 per cent of human-induced carbon emissions, Grist’s Eliot Coleman argues that it’s not how much meat you eat, it’s how the animals are raised. Feedlot cows that munch on chemically fertilized grain contribute more greenhouse gasses than grass-fed cows, according to Coleman, a renowned small-scale farmer.
Few have considered the carbon impact of children. Air America’s Avery Trufelman reports that a child produces 5.7 times more carbon than an average female adult, according to a study conducted by Oregon State University. A child’s carbon footprint will outweigh their mother’s environmentally conscious practices, including recycling, driving less or using energy efficient light bulbs. According to the study, an American child’s carbon footprint is almost 160 times larger than a child in Bangladesh. Joe Veix raises important questions about how carbon footprints are related to adoption, population control and sexual education for RH Reality Check.
But what if we could eliminate our carbon footprint altogether? In These Times features Colin Beaven, a New Yorker who drastically changed his family’s wasteful consumer lifestyle and made no environmental impact for a year. Beavan, his wife, and daughter lived in Manhattan without electricity, cars, television, or producing any trash. A documentary about Beaven’s project will hit select theaters in September and appear in the Sundance Film Festival in January. His book will be released in September.
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