A lot of these ideas are humorous in the extreme due to how hopefully hopeless they are. Only enviro-zealots would think these up and I'm sure they give themselves an exemption on most of them. They only make rules for "us", of course.
Fancy making yourself slimmer and fitter? Not your body, for once we'll leave that alone, but your carbon footprint. In other words, the amount of carbon dioxide that all the difference aspects of your lifestyle, from the amount of energy you use in the home to the way you get to work, contribute to the greenhouse gases that are causing global warming.No worries. These ideas will cost thousands that, luckily, 100% of the population have lying around for just this sort of planetary emergency.
Then try The Low Carbon Diet.
Detailed below, how Body&Soul worked out the CO2 savings in the diet masterplan and where the source of the information to do the sums.
Insulate your loft: Source: the Energy Saving Trust
Upgrade to a condensing boiler: source: the Energy Saving Trust
Install double glazing: Source: the Energy Saving Trust
Forget the tumble dryer, rediscover the clothes line: Using Environmental Change Institute figures for Kwh/cycle for an average tumble drier. Assuming 208 cycles/year and using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for electricity.I'm sure that everybody in the UK lives in a previously unknown part of the country where the sun shines brightly providing heaps of heat to dry people's clothes, it never gets cold and there's never any fog. Anyway, who uses the dryer 208 times a year?
Turn heating down 1C: Source: the Energy Saving TrustNot a problem for the poor, of course, whose heating systems, if they have them turned on at all, don't provide the ability for users to work out how to reduce by 1C. Does the temperature need to be turned down in all office buildings, hospitals, public theatres, parliament and public transport?
Fit a low flow shower head (family of four)Why aren't there any figures for the effect of fitting a low flow shower head? Answer: because your average family of four only showers twice a week, tops, so it would make bugger all difference.
Replace old fridge freezer with an A+ or A+++ rated model: Source: the Energy Saving TrustAgain, no savings figures. Having a look at whitegoods pricing in the UK I reckon it'll cost somewhere upwards of £400 to get a decent size fridge freezer. Luckily, you won't have to strap it to the top of the Prius, as you get free delivery from all the major retailers, saving heaps of CO2 emissions.
Switch off idle electronics and appliances left on standby: Using Energy Saving Trust cost saving figures (£37/year). Assuming an electricity price of 10.41pence/kwh and using the DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for electricity.If someone thinks anyone is going to turn electronic appliances off and on at the wall and put up with having to program the time on clock radios, VCRs, microwave ovens and a variety of other devices multiple times a day in order to save £37 per year then they're truly living in la-la land.
Treat your hot water tank to an insulating jacket: source: The Energy Saving TrustAssuming that your existing hot water tank was made in East Germany in 1965 then treating it to an insulating jacket might be a good idea. If it conforms to any decent standard in the West then it's already well-insulated.
Draught-proof windows and doors: source: The Energy Saving TrustCan you tell by now that The Energy Saving Trust is funded by the UK Government? Who the heck doesn't do something about the draught from windows and doors? Especially in the draughty, cold, miserable UK.
Unplug idle computers at night and w/ends: Using Energy Saving Trust cost saving figures (£35/year). Assuming an electricity price of 10.41pence/kwh and using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for electricity.Same comment as for the other electronic devices above. Why unplug them, anyway? Isn't it OK to turn them off at the wall?
Turn hot water down to 60C: Using Energy Saving Trust cost saving figures (£20/year). Assuming a gas price of 2.617pence/kwh and using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for gas.Try taking a shower with 60C hot water. You'll pay £40 extra to put it back up again.
Seal holes in floors and skirting boards: Source: the Energy Saving TrustThat's a terrific idea! We used to have holes in our floor and skirting board but after a grandmother went missing down one of them for a couple of days we sealed them up. Seal holes...these people are not serious.
Halve the number of washes you put on and lower your wash temperature: Using Environmental Change Institute figures for Kwh/cycle for an average washing machine. Assuming 4 cycles/week, 208 cycles/year and 2 cycles/week, 104 cycles/year and using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for electricity. And assuming going from a 90C to a 40C wash.Of course. Why didn't I think of leaving the dishes out for an extra wash cycle so that mice, flies and other germ-carrying insects can do their nefarious work? That's the same crazy logic that now sees rubbish picked up only once a fortnight instead of once a week. The whole point of putting the rubbish out and doing the dishes in hot water (not 40C) is to maintain a high standard of hygiene.
Run dishwasher on an Economy setting/run dishwasher on an Economy setting and halve the number of times you put it on: Using Environmental Change Institute figures for Kwh/cycle for an average dishwasher. Assuming 260 cycles/year and 130 cycles/year and using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for electricity.What do they have against dishwashers, anyway?
Put foil behind your radiators: Assuming a gas price of 2.617pence/kwh and using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for gas.While you're putting foil behind your radiators (making sure not to direct heat into the curtains) you might want to save some for your head, as you'd need to be that sort of moonbat to do this one.
Don't overfill the kettle. Boil what you need: A 2.5kw kettle taking 2.5 minutes to boil when full and 45 seconds to boil with 1 cup water in. Kettle is boiled 5 times/day, 7 days/week. Using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for electricity.Who fills the kettle too far, anyway? I want it to boil as quickly as possible. Are there any suggestions for the brand of tea or coffee to use?
Turn down your washing machine to 40C rather than 60C/90C: Using National Energy Foundation figures for kwh/wash for a B rated washing machine at 90C, 60C and 40C. Assuming 4 washes (or cycles) per week, 208 cycles/year and DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for electricity.Really. Why not just use Cold Power and cold water rather than hot? Seems to work OK to me.
Fit one energy saving light bulb: Source: The Energy Saving TrustJust the one? There's that terrific Energy Saving Trust again telling us how to save the planet. Do they have a recommendation for which light we should replace? The bathroom? The loo? The kitchen? It'd be seriously socially embarrassing to get it wrong and have my friends point that out.
Install a save-a-flush in your loo: Greenhouse gas emissions per litre of water treated and supplied to customers: 0.00029kg CO2 equivalent (Thames Water). Installing a save-a-flush saves 2000 litres of water a year.I must admit that I have not seen a loo that doesn't have a half flush button for about 20 years.
Compost food and garden waste: for every kilogram of waste you throw out, you produce 1 kg of CO2. An average household throwing out 1 dustbin's worth of waste every week emits 1400kg of CO2 a year. You can cut this figure by 20% if you compost all kitchen and garden waste. Source: Quaker Green Action, 2006.What percentage of the UK population is in the position to compost anything? If you live in a flat then do you have to store everything and cycle down the road to a friend's house that has a garden?
Take Eurostar, not the plane, from London to Paris or Brussels: from Eurostar press release. Eurostar figures quoted on Seat 61 websiteEurostar promoting itself as the green alternative to air travel? Surely not? Business people don't need to get anywhere in a hurry, anyway, so tripling the journey's time won't matter at all.
Swap the garden hose for a water butt: greenhouse gas emissions per litre of water treated and supplied to customers: 0.00029kg CO2 equivalent (Thames Water). Installing a water butt saves on average 1934.5 litres per year.I hate to say it but this is actually an OK idea. In drought-afflicted Australia they should probably be mandatory, especially given how cheap they are.
TRANSPORT DIETHow many people only live 6km (3.6 miles) from work? That would have to be less than 5% of the population.
Cycle to work: CO2 emissions saved by swopping a 6km/4m (12km/8m roundtrip) commute to work in an average sized petrol car during rush hour for the same journey by bike (the CO2 emissions factor used are for commuting by car during peak hours. Taken from Potter, Stephen (2004) (see below). Commute is made 5 times/week, 20 times/month and 210 times/year (assuming 6 weeks off per year).
Take the train/bus/tube and not the car (12km/8m commute): Difference in CO2 emissions between taking an averaged sized petrol car on a 6km/4m (12km/8m roundtrip) commute to work during rush hour and doing the same journey by bus, diesel train and tube (the CO2 emissions factors used are for commuting by car, bus, train and tube during peak hours and assume high occupancy in buses and trains. Figures are taken from Potter, Stephen (2004): Transport Energy and Emissions: Urban Public Transport, Chapter 13, pp 247-262 (Table 5) of Hensher, David and Button, Kenneth (Eds) Handbook of Transport and the Environment, Volume 4, Pergamon/Elsevier. Commute is made 5 times/week, 20 times/month and 210 times/year (assuming 6 weeks off per year).Driving your own car is the height of selfishness for enviro-fascists. Everyone must use public transport, even if it means getting up an hour earlier in order to be at work on time. Naturally, the people promoting these ideas will charge along in their SUVs comforted by the fact that they've bought extra carbon indulgences to cover any excess driving they do.
Re-think the school run: Walk/bike rather than drive (4km trip, twice a day): CO2 emissions saved by biking/walking rather than taking an average sized petrol car on a 2km (4km roundtrip twice a day = 8km) journey to school 190 times a year (10 weeks off for school holidays). The CO2 emissions factor used are for commuting by car during peak hours. Taken from Potter, Stephen (2004).Of course, most parents will simply get their kids to walk rather than drive them, sending a signal to all sorts of paedophile sickos that there are going to be more kids on the streets to victimise.
Or ... walk/bike 3 times a week: CO2 emissions saved by only driving to school (assumptions as above) twice a week. The CO2 emissions factor used are for commuting by car during peak hours. Taken from Potter, Stephen (2004).Or...drive the car and pay for carbon indulgences.
Ditch the car for journeys of 2km or less - walk or cycle (five times a week): CO2 saved as a result of not going on a 2km journey in an averaged sized petrol car 5 times/week, 20 times/month, 240 times/year (based on DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for an averaged sized petrol car and assuming the journey is made during off-peak hours).So now we're down to 2km (1.2 mile) journeys in order to make a point. Has anyone calculated the impact of wandering around in the UK's notoriously foul weather an extra five times a week? Assuming you're going to the local shop then how are you going to get your groceries home?
Be a smooth driver: avoid sharp braking or acceleration: Source: Warwick University Climate Footprint Project. Explanation: Smooth driving can save 30% on fuel consumption, reducing carbon emissions - this means reducing the amount of sharp braking and sharp accelerating while you drive.I'm so smooth I make Tom Jones look like a corrugated iron roof. How the heck can you avoid sharp breaking and acceleration in city stop-start traffic? These people have no idea.
CONSUMER DIETIs it better to pay £20 a kilo for British meat or £10 for the imported equivalent and £5 for a carbon indulgence? I reckon I might be onto something here.
Buy British - a basket of UK grown food rather than produce flown from abroad: in British-grown basket: cauliflower from Lincolnshire, mushrooms from Ireland, brussel sprouts from Lincolnshire, broccoli from Worcestershire, carrots from Scotland and onions from Shropshire. In foreign-grown basket: limes from Brazil, pears from Italy, avocados from Chile, peaches from USA, pineapple from Costa Rica, baby corn from Kenya. Using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for long-haul air freight multiplied by a factor of 2.7 (to reflect the warming effect equivalent of other greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere) and DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for a 75% loaded articulated lorry. Assume an average lorry load of 9.3 tonnes.
Most rubbish comes from food and other packaging. Recycle glass, paper, cardboard, plastics, cans: for every kilogram of waste you throw out, you produce 1 kg of CO2. An average household throwing out 1 dustbin's worth of waste every week emits 1400kg of CO2 a year. You can cut this figure by 30% if you recycle all paper, glass, metal and plastic (apart from plastic bags). Source: Quaker Green Action, 2006.Why not make edible packaging? That would save a whole heap more than 30%. The glass and metal might be a bit problematic, though.
Buy 1kg (2lb punnet) of British strawberries rather than Californian: Using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for long-haul air freight multiplied by a factor of 3 and DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for a 75% loaded articulated lorry. Assume an average lorry load of 9.3 tonnes. Calculated using distance between San Jose, California and London (8657km) and between Canterbury and London (99km).You know, I wish I'd thought of that but the lateral thinking required to work out that the world is going to be saved by the consumption of British strawberries and green beans would make even Edward de Bono proud.
Buy 1kg of British green beans, not Kenyan: using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for long-haul air freight multiplied by a factor of 2.7 and DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for a 75% loaded articulated lorry. Assume an average lorry load of 9.3 tonnes. Calculated using distance between Nairobi and London (6804km) and between Canterbury and London (99km).
Do one weekly supermarket shop, not three: a 1.5km (3km roundtrip) journey to the supermarket in an averaged sized petrol car 3 times/week, 12 times/month and 144 times/year; and the same journey done once a week, 4 times/month and 36 times/year. Difference in CO2 emissions between the 2 journey types using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for an average petrol car and assuming the journey is made during off-peak hours.How many families do you know do three weekly shops? This is the most bogus suggestion so far. One thing you will have noticed is how far from real world situations most of these are.
Buy a bottle of French wine instead of a New Zealand vintage: using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for large bulk carrier (ship) freight and DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for a 75% loaded articulated lorry. Assume an average lorry load of 9.3 tonnes. Calculated using distance between Auckland and London (18,331km) and between Bordeaux and London (742km).Bastards. Why discriminate against our sheep-loving cousins in favour of the notoriously cowardly, garlic-breathed, frogs-leg eating dilettantes? The fact that New Zealand and Australian wines are better than French wines, and cheaper, doesn't enter into the equation, I suppose.
HOLIDAY DIETSo, given you're taking three holidays a year then this calculation assumes that for the other two non-flying holidays you manage to emit zero CO2. Good luck with that.
Take 1 rather than 3 short haul (500km) flights a year: CO2 saved as a result of taking 1 trip of 1000km (500km each way) instead of 3 trips of 1000km (500km each way). Using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for air travel multiplied by a factor of 2.7.
Take the coach for a UK or short overseas trip (350km x 2), not the plane: CO2 saved as a result of taking a journey of 700km roundtrip by train rather than by plane, using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for train and the DEFRA CO2 figure for plane travel multiplied by a factor of 2.7 to reflect the warming effect equivalent of other greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere.What if you don't want to go on a short overseas trip? What if you want to come to the world's most wonderful country - Australia? The whole point of travelling the world is to expand the mind. You can't do much expanding if you never travel more than 350km (210 miles) from home.
Take the train rather than fly London to Edinburgh: using DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for train and the DEFRA CO2 figure for plane travel multiplied by a factor of 2.7.What if you don't live in London? Britain's trains are already over-crowded, over-priced and never on time. I reckon you'll find that 99.9% of those who suggest we should all use public transport 1) don't do so themselves and 2) don't understand the massive infrastructure upgrades that would need to take place in order to increase capacity to the necessary level.
Really, this stuff is all about symbolism. Of course, we knew that already.