A British activist is trying to reduce her personal carbon footprint to one tonne of CO2 per year. This is very hard.
Remember the 100 mile diet? That was for wimps and so 2007. English environmental activist Rosalind Readhead is doing something much tougher: a One Tonne Diet, where she gets her personal carbon emissions from everything she does down to less than one tonne of carbon per year. Currently, the average American has a footprint of 28 tonnes, the average UK citizen 15 tonnes. (A metric tonne is 2204 pounds, or 10 percent larger than an American short ton). Readhead (who we wrote about earlier with her low carbon manifesto, and when she was thinking about this project) writes on her website:
The aim of this project is to attempt to live on one tonne of carbon per year from September 2019. This breaks down to a budget of 2.74kg of carbon emitted per day. I will record everything that I consume in a journal. This will include food, drink, transport, entertainment, data, showers, washing up, heating etc.
Much of her data comes from Professor Mike Berners-Lee’s book How bad are the bananas? The carbon footprint of everything. In the introduction, Berners-Lee said he wrote the book to encourage people to aim for a 10 tonne diet.
One way of thinking about the footprint of an object or activity is to put it in the context of a year’s worth of 10-ton living. For example, a large cheeseburger, with a footprint of 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs.) CO2e, represents about 2 hours’ worth of a 10-ton year. If you drive a fairly thirsty car for 1,000 miles, that is 800 kg (1,750 lbs) CO2e, or a month’s ration. If you leave a couple of the (now old-fashioned) 100-watt incandescent light bulbs on for a year, that would be another month used up. One typical return flight from Los Angeles to Barcelona burns up around 4.6 tons CO2e. That is just under 6 months’ ration in the 10-ton lifestyle.
So what is the point of such an exercise? Berners-Lee notes that “our impacts used to be local and visible. Today they are not.” Living his ten tonne diet makes them visible and comprehensible. He also says, “It’s virtually impossible for an individual in the developed world to get down to a 3-ton lifestyle anytime soon.” Readhead’s one tonne diet is ridiculously challenging and extreme, but as she notes, it is a bit of a performance piece.
Could you live the one tonne lifestyle? | TreeHugger
A British activist is trying to reduce her personal carbon footprint to one tonne of CO2 per year. This is very hard. Remember the 100 mile diet? That was for wimps and so 2007. English environmental activist Rosalind Readhead is doing something much tougher: a One Tonne Diet, where she gets her personal carbon emissions… [Read More]