Danedri Thompson
With the new year right around the corner, I’m making plans to lessen my carbon footprint to approximately the size of Al Gore’s carbon footprint. If I’m lucky the Nobel Peace Prize voters will take notice.
Former Vice President Al Gore once received the Nobel Prize for sounding the alarm over global warming with his movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” For his efforts, he won a gold medal, a diploma and $1.6 million. And it’s long overdue.
When he’s not inventing the Internet or inspiring films like, “Love Story” he’s using fuzzy math to warn that “We have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tailspin.”
Next year’s Nobel Peace Prize voters should take into consideration how hard I’ll have to work to equal Gore’s carbon footprint as it’s a rather large one. In fact, he’s sort of the Sasquatch of the environmental movement.
His carbon trail includes two homes. One is a 10,000 square foot, 20-room, 8-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000 square-foot-home in Arlington.
According to www.carbonfootprint.com, my footprint is about half that of the average American. I use approximately 10.855 tons. (Whatever that means.) The average U.S. citizen uses 20.4 tons. And for the record, I guesstimated high.
Gore’s Tennessee utility bills are public record, so I can report that his utility bills equal close to $30,000 per year. Mine aren’t quite as grand. He used approximately 221,000 kilowatt-hours in 2006 compared to the average Americans’ 10,656 kilowatt-hours that year.
Gore uses private jets to fly him all over the world. I used trips I hope to take to New York City, an away K-State football game, and Carribbean vacation in my estimate for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be utilizing a private jet. I intend to go commercial. As you can see, I have a lot of work to come close to Gore’s carbon foot trails.
I drive a PT Cruiser. It gets decent mileage. I go from work to home and back. Many days, I ride my bike or walk to work. Occasionally, I jaunt to a friend’s house for an organic dinner. (The carbon footprint test asks about diet, too, and I freely admitted to eating as much red meat as possible. Cow is good.)
Gore probably only eats vegan and then, only organic and local, so it’s quite possible I’m outpacing him in the diet category. And still, my CO2 footprint is to Gore’s as a swimming pool noodle is to the Titanic.
So much CO2 to emit, so little time in 2014.
To broaden my trail, I’ve decided to throw recyclables into fields and streams.  I’m also buying one of those turbo-flush toilets the government outlawed several years ago. I plan to eat red meat exclusively. I’ve changed back to environmentally unsound light bulbs that I will leave on night and day. And, I’m in the market for a commercial-size moving truck that gets fewer than 10 miles a gallon. I intend to make that my primary vehicle for the upcoming year.
For the record, and those who aren’t capable of detecting sarcasm, I don’t really plan to match Gore’s carbon footprint next year. Even if I wanted to, I don’t have the means. I’m all for doing what we can to protect the environment, but not at the cost of human lives. We have to strike a balance, which in most environmental policy we fail to do.
The most obvious and glaring example was the U.S. ban on DDT. The chemical was used successfully in the 1950s and 1960s to kill mosquitoes that spread malaria. By 1967, the disease was all but eradicated worldwide.
Then environmentalists banned DDT’s use in the United States. Like a rabid virus, the ban spread to developing countries, where unfortunately, the disease had yet to be eliminated. Malaria deaths skyrocketed. The DDT ban, in the name of environmental protection, resulted in a mini-genocide in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Latin America. It’s a mini-genocide that continues today.
The DDT ban was spear-headed by author Rachel Carson, who wrote a passionate, although scientifically unsound book about birds and other animals dying as a result of DDT’s use.
And now we’re regularly asked – and occassionally – legislated into changing our lifestyles. The environmentalists are always promoting wacky ideas like limiting toilet paper use to one square per trip to the ladies’ room, and dining sleeves that can be washed instead of using napkins. We have them to thank for barely-flushing toilets that limit water usage and for spiral light bulbs that can’t be thrown away for fear of contaminating ground water.
Their ideas are ridiculous on their face, but once we travel that road, we could see legislation that result in consequences more serious than dirty drawers and food-stained sleeves.
And if those wacky environmentalists want me to cut my carbon emissions, they need to cut theirs to my level first.