Sustainable lifestyle?
September 26, 2007 11:34 AM   Subscribe

How many planets do you need? NPR has a game to assess your impact on the Earth.
posted by Kirth Gerson (89 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's not NPR.
posted by found missing at 11:39 AM on September 26, 2007


3.9 planets! The food category was a killer.
posted by brain_drain at 11:43 AM on September 26, 2007


heh, found missing beat me to it.
posted by OldReliable at 11:44 AM on September 26, 2007


They fooled me with their "Public Media" camouflage.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:46 AM on September 26, 2007


And the food was what sent me into extra planets, too.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:48 AM on September 26, 2007


4.1 planets! The food category was a killer.
posted by Kwine at 11:48 AM on September 26, 2007


Only 3.0! That means all I have to do is kill 2 people and take their acres so I can keep living my normal lifestyle. Gnarly!
posted by patr1ck at 11:51 AM on September 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


There are a number of ecological footprint calculators nowadays. They're very handy and people are often quite surprised at the results. My favorite, and I forget which it is, lets you download the Excel sheet with all the calculations and make minor tweaks to a rather complicated formula.
posted by Tehanu at 11:51 AM on September 26, 2007


It's a cute game, but there are bizarre quirks. Like when I got dinged for not using public transportation, even though a) I'm in a small village where "public transportation" consists of one bus that comes through every few hours, and b) I walk everywhere, seeing as how, you know, it's a small village.

The "average monthly payments" for natural gas in upstate NY were also a little...weird. Twenty-odd dollars? Huh? What? No.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:56 AM on September 26, 2007


Not owning a car is not an option in this game?
posted by enn at 11:56 AM on September 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


I AM GALACTUS DEVOURER OF WORLDS

or

IM IN UR PLANET, EATIN UR REZOURES
posted by GuyZero at 11:56 AM on September 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


that was my reaction, enn.
posted by desjardins at 11:57 AM on September 26, 2007


Yeah, all the "average" utility bills are wildly skewed.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:58 AM on September 26, 2007


6.2 planets, sweet. The air travel was a killer for me.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:59 AM on September 26, 2007


The problem here is that you need to know too much. What percentage of my diet is meat by volume? Who the hell knows that? My average monthly electrical bill? Like I'm going to dig it out (if I were even at home). What percentage of my plastic is recycled? I do containers, at least those that are accepted at the place....what percentage is that?

And if I knew all that stuff, I wouldn't need this test to tell me what to fix.
posted by DU at 12:03 PM on September 26, 2007


That's it, no more food for me.
posted by aubilenon at 12:04 PM on September 26, 2007


Our rural community kills us on recycling. They simply don't do it, and if we tried to accumulate recycling here for some bi-monthly haul to a distant center (using a couple gallons of gas to do so) it would just pile up and then get thrown out.

Even the local post office, which has recycling bins in the lobbies for throwing out waste paper admitted that they just dump those in the trash after hours.
posted by maxwelton at 12:05 PM on September 26, 2007


obviously the real key to saving the world is population control. Lets keep this war going!
posted by CaptMcalister at 12:05 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


1.9 planets - and I live in a tent and couch-surf, don't own a car, eat locally-grown produce and never buy anything with the money I don't have.

...
we're simply going to have to get us another planet, folks.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:10 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


2.5. I call, um, Mars and half of Venus!
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:18 PM on September 26, 2007


4.5 most of it due to coffee and business travel. Clearly, I need to move to Jamacia or Hawaii to save the world. That's a sacrifice I am prepared to make.
posted by bonehead at 12:19 PM on September 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


2.0 planets. My problem was eating food.
posted by athenian at 12:26 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


They'd need to offer me Mars and Jupiter just to make me wade through the slow, frustrating interface.
posted by ORthey at 12:26 PM on September 26, 2007


To get to 1 planet, I would need to:

1) Share a 500 square foot apartment with 9 other people.
2) Use only a few dollars of electricity and gas each month, and go without heat.
3) Have a minimal commute, via train, and pretty much never go anywhere else.
4) Never fly.
5) Never get into a car.
6) Never buy anything.
7) Eat only organic, locally grown vegetables and grains.

It's just not worth it. I don't care enough about the planet, I guess.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:27 PM on September 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm just gonna come right out and say that I don't want everyone to live like I do. It's a neat little thought exercise, but a crap incentive for change.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:37 PM on September 26, 2007


Yikes, 5.4 planets here. Food isn't what killed me - I have an outdoor garden, an indoor garden, and we eat mostly organic foods, drink little wine and no beer. What got me was, well, we do use a lot of utilities. I did plant 120 trees ths year (20 myself, and paid to have another 100 planted), out of guilt, knowing that our energy primarily comes from coal plants in this area. Hopefully that alleviates a planet or two from my score. ;)
posted by jamstigator at 12:49 PM on September 26, 2007


I'm less worried about my x3.7 score, than the fact that the food consequence was so high.

I suspect this is down to the impact of the petrochemicals used to make and deliver food — even with a good third to half of my food being organic and locally grown!

Once the oil crunch comes, there will be a lot of starving folks. I just hope we make it...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:49 PM on September 26, 2007


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America wrote: It's just not worth it. I don't care enough about the planet, I guess.

This is one unfortunate side effect of these types of quizzes. After you play with it a bit you realize that you are simply unwilling on any level to make the sacrifices necessary to get down to what they consider "1 planet." I know I am.

I live in a city and walk a lot. I don't drive much. I try to recycle. I conserve electricity and stuff. And I'm still close to 4 planets. Oh yeah? Well fuck the planet, I guess.

We are not going to turn into people who, as Mr. PDSEA says, share a 500 square foot apartment with 10 people, don't use electricity or heat, don't travel, don't buy clothes, and only eat things we grow in our own shit as fertilizer.

It's never going to happen.

We need to hope for a technological solution, I guess.
posted by Justinian at 12:51 PM on September 26, 2007 [4 favorites]


We are not going to turn into people who, as Mr. PDSEA says, share a 500 square foot apartment with 10 people, don't use electricity or heat, don't travel, don't buy clothes, and only eat things we grow in our own shit as fertilizer.

There are folks in West Philadelphia giving that the old college try.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:57 PM on September 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


I view this sort of thing as part of the global business conspiracy to convince us that it's ALL OUR FAULT. Nothing to do with the robber barons that created the whole mess. This has nothing to do with the allocation of resources that make it:

• next to impossible for me to get to my job, 1 1/2 miles away, by public transportation in anything approaching a reasonable amount of time (10 minutes to bike, if the weather is with me, 7 minutes to drive, more than an hour on public trans if I don't time it exactly right)

• give all my taxes to road repair while they shut down public transportation over political infighting

• use "fair trade" policies that make locally grown produce wildly more expensive that imported produce (by having it available only in farmers markets, by subsidizing the cost of import, by penalizing farmers who don't grow commodity crops, etc.)

• through research that funds shibboleths like ethanol at the expense of RRRR (renew reuse reduce recycle) solutions

• through tax incentives that give wealthy suburbanites huge breaks for buying "hybrid" SUVs that get 20 mpg while my 27 mpg putt putt costs full price

and the biggie:

• the investment of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives in a war to free the Iraqi people from dictatorship, oh I mean save us from weapons of mass destruction, oh wait I mean stop terrorism abroad before it comes home, no I mean give the Iraqi people the breathing space they need to find a political solution, what I REALLY mean is create a permanent US presence to protect the oil fields.
posted by nax at 1:03 PM on September 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


oh, and 5.6 planets. ouch. I think I drink too much coffee.
posted by nax at 1:04 PM on September 26, 2007


So that was a joke about the war, tanks and jets use a lot of energy, but seriously population control should be the focus of the environmental movement. People are right when they say we are never going to live in the way necessary to be sustainable, but remember that the key number in this model is the total population, which is a really big number. Condoms should be the coolest fashion statement around, and having more then two children should be the moral equivalent to murder.
posted by CaptMcalister at 1:13 PM on September 26, 2007


3.1

Air travel. It's a killer.

And why we must bring back the Zeppelin. The air ship. Not the band.

There is one major flaw. they don't ask you what you do (and HOW and WHERE you do it) for work. Seems to me nearly everybody would be like 70+ planets.

I own my own business and we actively try to work as "green" as we can. Yet still 50% of our clients "product" probably ends up as land fill. And there is little we can do.
posted by tkchrist at 1:15 PM on September 26, 2007


2.6 planets, but I'm not worried. As long as most of the population on the Earth lives in third-world, developing countries where crushing poverty prevents them from consuming half a planet, much less one, I can maintain my comfortable lifestyle.

nax, it is all to easy to blame The Man and claim Poor Mr. and Mrs. American Consumer can't do anything about it, but let's not forget who puts The Man in business, who buys The Man's products, and who votes for The Man when he goes into office. Yes, The Man does a lot to help our consumer, materialist society along, but we're all too ready to dance to his tune without a second thought.
posted by schroedinger at 1:15 PM on September 26, 2007


Amen, nax. Imagine if abolitionists had tried to end slavery by telling everyone not to buy slaves...
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:15 PM on September 26, 2007


Justinian:

This is one unfortunate side effect of these types of quizzes. After you play with it a bit you realize that you are simply unwilling on any level to make the sacrifices necessary to get down to what they consider "1 planet." I know I am.

Excellent. You can offset my 3.8. I'll let you live.

monju_bosatsu, nax, and bonehead, watch out! *polishes sniper rifle*
posted by po at 1:17 PM on September 26, 2007


If our population was a eighth of what it is today we could do whatever we wanted.
posted by CaptMcalister at 1:20 PM on September 26, 2007


1) Share a 500 square foot apartment with 9 other people.
2) Use only a few dollars of electricity and gas each month, and go without heat.
3) Have a minimal commute, via train, and pretty much never go anywhere else.
4) Never fly.
5) Never get into a car.
6) Never buy anything.
7) Eat only organic, locally grown vegetables and grains.

It's just not worth it. I don't care enough about the planet, I guess.


The "planet" will be fine.

The cold hard fact is you may not have a choice. If you live long enough anyway. Certainly your great grand children, unless they end up very wealthy, will in no way live like you do.

The greater YOUR impact — the worse things will be for your children and their children.

Living selfishly now will force your children to be harsher and less just stewards of civilization if they continue desire our life styles. If they want to live like "you" in hundred years they will have to compete in ways that will seem utterly barbaric to us now.

And WE, my friends, ARE barbarians.
posted by tkchrist at 1:20 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


What weird questions. Why single out coffee, wine, and beer?
Like those important beverages are what is using up all our resources? What if I drink locally, produced organic beer?

What about cocaine or heroin?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 1:22 PM on September 26, 2007


Amen, nax. Imagine if abolitionists had tried to end slavery by telling everyone not to buy slaves...

They did.
posted by tkchrist at 1:23 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.
posted by tadellin at 1:23 PM on September 26, 2007


It's part of American Public Media's™ special series, "Consumed," which explores whether the modern American lifestyle is sustainable in the long run.

That needs to be explored? Tip: the oil took millions of years to make, and we've drained large portions of it in 150 years.

Meanwhile, I stopped trusting this thing when it dinged me for not living in the tiny apartment with 10 people. I don't think running out of space to put everyone is the problem with overpopulation.


I view this sort of thing as part of the global business conspiracy to convince us that it's ALL OUR FAULT. Nothing to do with the robber barons that created the whole mess. This has nothing to do with the allocation of resources that make it:


I tend to agree, and this site, and the two sites behind it just stink of entrenched interests. Basically: Media company & DC lobbyists.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:25 PM on September 26, 2007


The obvious solution is less people. The world will take care of that on its own, sooner or later.
posted by knave at 1:26 PM on September 26, 2007


monju_bosatsu, nax, and bonehead, watch out! *polishes sniper rifle*

Meh. Most of these footprint calculators, this one included, base their calculations on some translation of energy use and consumption into acres of biologically productive area necessary to sustain that use and consumption. That's a mostly arbitrary translation when the driving force is the consumption of fossil fuels.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:27 PM on September 26, 2007


The greater YOUR impact — the worse things will be for your children and their children.

Unless you're posting this from a computer you made yourself out of rocks and bamboo, from your dirt-floor hut you share with your extended family, I'm going to have trouble taking you seriously.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:35 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Living selfishly now will force your children to be harsher and less just stewards of civilization if they continue desire our life styles.

On the other foot, there's a certain amount of huggery-muggery and sensationalism in this quiz too. It's fun to see how bad we all are and moan about the stuff we'd have to do to get down to "sustainable levels". But.

There's good reason to be hopeful that we'll get ourselves out of this energy bind (and it is all about the costs and consequences of petroenergy, little else) the way we always have: finding a better way of doing things. We won't do it because it's right, of course, we, as a species, will do it because it's cheaper and easier. It would be foolish to say what we will be using 50 years from now, but my guess---check out my username---is some sort of solar capture, whether mediated by physics or biology or both. Nuclear and efficiency savings will tide us over until we get there, I suspect.

So yeah, the this quiz is quite useful in highlighting somewhat surprising economizations, like reducing my use of Chilean lettuce, and in discovering that I like the word "huggery-muggery". The self-flagellation though, not so much.
posted by bonehead at 1:39 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]



Unless you're posting this from a computer you made yourself out of rocks and bamboo, from your dirt-floor hut you share with your extended family, I'm going to have trouble taking you seriously.

Yea. Becuase that would make it less true.
posted by tkchrist at 1:40 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


meh...4.8

more nudity in the game plz
posted by C17H19NO3 at 1:45 PM on September 26, 2007


Yea. Becuase that would make it less true.

No, but it would make you a hypocrite with no actual solutions.
posted by CaptMcalister at 1:50 PM on September 26, 2007


I would be down around 1.8 if it weren't for my eating habits. I EAT A LOT OF MEAT OKAY
posted by danb at 1:59 PM on September 26, 2007


I'm surprised there are so many Malthusians on MeFi.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:08 PM on September 26, 2007


These tests are all the same.They're all based on the simplistic X people divided by Y "productive acres." Yes, if everyone on the planet tried to have my lifestyle instantly, it would Poolio.

What it ignores is the fact that a 'global acre' is a moving target. Every advance in efficiency of growing, harvesting and distributing food effectively increases the total number of "2007 global acres." Not to mention increasing actual, real acres of land that can be used productively. What happens when we can harvest solar energy more effectively with solar panels than we can with leaves? Does "productive acres" have meaning when they're underground hydroponic farms?

Just clicking through, changing only the state and leaving the defaults gives 5.3 earths for NY. Is it unreasonable to imagine that we might get 5 times better at producing things by the time half the planet is worrying about Versace handbags instead of crushing poverty? The whole planet could live like me with only a 30% increase in efficiency. I'm OK with that.
posted by Skorgu at 2:09 PM on September 26, 2007


No, but it would make you a hypocrite with no actual solutions.

Having a computer made from sticks would make me a hypocrite? No that would make me a god damned GENIUS.

Look you two moron-twin sock puppets you wanna go for the strawman go all the way. More like:

"Yeah I'd listen to you if you'd...

...learned to use chlorophyll instead of blood!"

...built a time and machine gone back in time and killed the first australopithecines and prevented human civilization!'

Put some heart into it man.
posted by tkchrist at 2:15 PM on September 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


Don't call me a sock puppet, hypocrite. You like to lecture people on the Internet, sure, but damned if you're actually going to make yourself uncomfortable to practice what you preach.

If you don't even believe in what you're saying, really, why should I?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:22 PM on September 26, 2007


Well, it looks like if I can find a car that gets 1000 miles/gallon, and NOT drive it at all, AND invite everyone I know to come live in my bedroom, we'll have a free planet to destroy! Party at my place!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:24 PM on September 26, 2007


Does choosing not to have 2.4 kids mean that I get to use up to 3.4 planets of resources for myself? :)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:26 PM on September 26, 2007


If our population was a eighth of what it is today we could do whatever we wanted.
posted by CaptMcalister at 1:20 PM on September 26


of course "whatever we want" currently depends on access to cheap labour, energy and goods, almost all of which comes from places where people live on a tiny fraction of the footprint we do.

and that's the real irony: the people who make the shit we destroy the planet with are, owing to their poverty and/or servitude, model environmental citizens.
posted by klanawa at 2:26 PM on September 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


"What if everyone did [x]? Where would you be then, huh?!!!"

For x =

1. Jumped off a bridge
2. Jumped up and down at the same exact time
3. Pissed in the alley
4. Lived in their mother's basement
5. Cheated on their taxes
6. Watched Arrested Development, despite not owning a TV
7. Got the clap at Burning Man
8. Rode bicycles manufatured locally out of vegan cheese
9. Voted for Ralph Nader
10. Lived like you do
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:36 PM on September 26, 2007



If you don't even believe in what you're saying, really, why should I?

But I do. I do believe.

I DO believe your a sock puppet, for instance. And likely suffer from Hydrocephalus. ZING!

Don't stop believing, Steve. Hang on to that feeling.

But I digress. Then again your obviously all about digression rather than the topic at hand.
posted by tkchrist at 2:39 PM on September 26, 2007


Then throw your computer away and go live in a hut with your extended family. Save the planet, dude.

If you're not willing to make actual sacrifices, though, quit lecturing me.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:45 PM on September 26, 2007


Abacuses all around.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:46 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


The claim that locally-grown produce is less environmentally-intensive isn't always necessarily true.

And fertilizers (which are largely shipped by rail, where fuel intensity is 1/4 of shipping by road) allow for far greater productivity per acre than organic farming does.

So the numbers seem a bit wrong. Or oversimplified.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:23 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


This whole fucking thing is oversimplified.
posted by tracert at 3:30 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


The program obviously makes many simplifications making it inaccurate, but you'd have to be a retard to not realize that the point of this isn't to precisely calculate just how many fractions of Earths you'd need to sustain a world of your wasteful ass, but rather to point out the many ways in which we (Americans) consume large resources. It's not Halo 3, people.

However, I do want to point out that they actually lower your footprint if you say that you support (but not practice anything) things like increasing federally mandated mpgs and such, which is definitely ridiculous.
posted by switchsonic at 3:54 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


That game was as much fun as doing my tax return.
posted by chipr at 4:46 PM on September 26, 2007


What a rip off, you can’t shoot the deer.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:25 PM on September 26, 2007


Well, now I see that my score of 2.9 planets is pretty low compared to the rest of you guys I am feeling unreasonbly virtuous about my lifestyle.

I got killed on recycling, because I don't do any. I might be saving the planet by not having a car, but it makes it difficult to take all my trash to the recycling centre.
posted by penguinliz at 5:52 PM on September 26, 2007


4.2, mainly due to my apparent drinking problem, and not enough credit for not driving at all.
posted by galtr at 6:13 PM on September 26, 2007


I view this sort of thing as part of the global business conspiracy to convince us that it's ALL OUR FAULT. ... This has nothing to do with the allocation of resources that make it:

• next to impossible for me to get to my job, 1 1/2 miles away by bus....
• give all my taxes to road repair while they shut down public transportation over political infighting


Amen again. Personal responsibility is great and all, but it's not like I can personally solve the problem by extreme personal virtuousness. This has always been my problem with, eg, Coastal Clean Up Day. We don't take turns directing traffic -- can't we agree it's a priority, allocate some fucking resources, and move on?

On the other hand, I work trying to get this stuff to happen and it's like pulling teeth. You want housing built near workplaces? OMG, parking's hard enough as it is! You want money to go to transit? OMG, we need an extra lane on the highway! (You know, since we all had to live in the suburbs, since there weren't any houses near our workplaces). Sooooooo... yeah.

Hope to see you all at the next City Council or County Board of Supervisors meeting, because that's where these decisions are getting made. And right now, small groups of vocal annoyed people are showing up to say "no" while the general public isn't showing up to say "yes." Not that I blame anyone, they're pretty dang boring.

2.8 yeah dawg!
posted by salvia at 6:16 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


TheOnlyCoolTim: I stopped trusting this thing when it dinged me for not living in the tiny apartment with 10 people.

Well, I live in 500sq.ft with two people, and it went from 1 to 0.7 when I entered that, so I'm not sure where everyone gets this 10 people thing from..

tkchrist: There is one major flaw. they don't ask you what you do (and HOW and WHERE you do it) for work. Seems to me nearly everybody would be like 70+ planets.

You said it! One has to be responsible for what one does at work too. And, compared to all the "sacrifices" necessary to get to a low total on this calculator, taking responsibility for the consequences of your career is infinitely harder.
posted by Chuckles at 6:51 PM on September 26, 2007


Sustainability is for Yngwie Malmsteens.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:12 PM on September 26, 2007


this thing was unsustainably ugly and slow. why is everyone grey-skinned? couldn't they have learned from the simpsons avatars? this needed to be funnier.

i did like the policy part though, since usually these "footprint" things ignore the fact that most consumption is communal and social and political, and not personal. most of the policies suggested are very milquetoast, how could you NOT support them?

they need to have more levels of communal aggregation (community, municipality plus state and fed)

and more interactivity in the policy changes towards techonological change. i suppose the research isn't in? what effect on acreage consumption does investing M% of social product towards developing X have over time T? and the like.


The problem here is that you need to know too much. What percentage of my diet is meat by volume? Who the hell knows that? My average monthly electrical bill? Like I'm going to dig it out (if I were even at home). What percentage of my plastic is recycled? I do containers, at least those that are accepted at the place....what percentage is that?


late capitalism means that the TV/internet is able to distract you long enough to avoid knowing these very basic things even though you are directly, immediately witnessing them everyday; because knowing them makes you consume less.

just keep buying shit on your credit card and everything will be ok. ok? good.
posted by eustatic at 7:29 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that the Climate Crisis calculator hasn't been mentioned yet. It's more accurate than any other 'impact calculator' I've seen, and allows you to compare your results to people near you.
posted by FissionChips at 8:09 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


2.2, largely due to food.

But housing really wasn't a problem. 10 people? 2 people to a 1000 sq. foot apartment dropped my "earths" score from 1.0 to 0.8.
posted by dreamsign at 8:10 PM on September 26, 2007


I know I'll only need this one... once the rest of you piss off.
posted by pompomtom at 9:18 PM on September 26, 2007


late capitalism means that the TV/internet is able to distract you long enough to avoid knowing these very basic things even though you are directly, immediately witnessing them everyday; because knowing them makes you consume less.

just keep buying shit on your credit card and everything will be ok. ok? good.


I don't know any of those things. And I don't have a credit card. Or a TV.

The obvious conclusion presents itself. Damn you, Internet!
posted by enn at 11:37 PM on September 26, 2007


/me gets his stockpile of duct tape and plastic ready for the coming Malthusian meltdown...
posted by darkstar at 12:31 AM on September 27, 2007


There are folks in West Philadelphia giving that the old college try.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:57 PM on September 26 [3 favorites +] [!]


Yeah, but the problem is, they get in one little fight and their mom gets scared, and it's back to ruining the planet with their auntie and uncle in bel air.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:36 AM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I plugged in values for when I used to live in a large, single family house in suburban Texas, drove a gas-guzzling SUV 30 miles to work every day, ate like a carnivorous pig, drank like a fish, never recycled and never took public transportation (walk? huh?). 8.9 planets required for that lifestyle.

Then I plugged in values for my current lifestyle. I live in an apartment in a big European city, don't have a car, recycle, take public transportation, walk often, eat less food and much less meat and have much lower energy bills. 2.6 planets required for my current lifestyle.

Hopefully I'll get an A for effort from future generations.
posted by syzygy at 7:49 AM on September 27, 2007


I was at 1 until food. That killed me. Final result: 3.1.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:46 AM on September 27, 2007


If everybody lived like I do, we could all live like kings and the world would be fine. I never reproduced.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:42 AM on September 27, 2007


If everybody lived like I do, we could all live like kings and the world would be fine. I never reproduced.

That would work great... for one generation.
posted by Justinian at 10:36 AM on September 27, 2007


Exactly.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:38 AM on September 27, 2007


7.9 w00t! Fuck da planet!
posted by Debaser626 at 11:08 AM on September 27, 2007


Well, I live in 500sq.ft with two people, and it went from 1 to 0.7 when I entered that, so I'm not sure where everyone gets this 10 people thing from.

Yeah, but if you waste a whole .7 on housing, you're going to have a terrible time coming in at 1 or under.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:11 AM on September 27, 2007


Exactly. two people in a 500 sqft apartment takes up most of your planet allowance. You need to get it down to .3 or .4, which would be a whole buncha people.

If the model were accurate, of course, which it isn't.
posted by Justinian at 11:29 AM on September 27, 2007


1.5

But I don't see a hell of a lot of choice on some of these things.

For example, all the grocery stores within walking distance sell pretty much the same stuff, and it usually isn't locally or organically grown. Even the veggie/healthy store sells processed, overpackaged, overpriced, overshipped veggie/healthy stuff. I'm better off going to to a normal greengrocer. Maybe I could drive out into the country to buy food from farmers, but then I'd have to buy a car, waste the gas, cause pollution, use up potentially green space for parking, eventually put the car in a dump, etc.

And our electricity comes from where it comes from. We don't get some bloody choice in the matter. All I can do is use a little less coal-generated electricity.

Luckily for us, there are about 2 billion poor starving bastards living in cardboard boxes and mud burrows who would get about a 0.3 on this test.
posted by pracowity at 12:06 PM on September 27, 2007


schroedinger: I hear you; point taken. But I still don't see how all of us changing our goddamned light bulbs is going to help when our entire industrial and a good portion of our agricultural capacity has been shipped overseas to avoid anti-pollution laws, among other things.

Don't underestimate The Man's ability to undermine pesky obstacles like democracy and the vote.
posted by nax at 12:44 PM on September 27, 2007


When Americans stop believing that 'Bigger is Better', we won't need other planets. The one we have should suffice. Also, start pushing those birth control pills in third world countries.
posted by lamarguerite at 9:31 AM on October 1, 2007


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