I love this graph.
Basically it says “Yes, you may recycle and think you’re green and lovely and one of the people who should survive The Great Reckoning, but actually you’re about 3 times more environmentally impactful than that fat TV watching pikey you feel so superior to.”
The main differences are the amount of things we buy, and the amount of flights we take. However we also just consume more of everything, which pushes us into an American level of planet abuse.
We do turn off our lightbulbs and insulate our roofs, though. So that smug, warm feeling is definitely real, it’s just misattributed.
I’m not suggesting Puritan self-flagellation (though I can think of some people who should try it), just some consideration for the alternatives.
If you’re thinking of popping off to Morocco for the weekend, of flying to Geneva for the week to go skiing, take the train. And if you’re thinking about buying something, spend the money on a memorable experience instead – it lasts much longer.
Source: Peter Harper, Centre for Alternative Technology: Sustainable_Households a presentation given to the Transition Winchester conference.