The thing I find fascinating about carbon accounting is that it provides an even playing field to compare seemingly disparate objects or activities. For instance, which is worse: driving a Volkswagen Golf, or owning a cat? Answer: it’s almost too close to call.
Robert and Brenda Vale, architects from New Zealand, have published a new book called Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living. In it, they examine the ecological impact of owning pets, a modern habit that seems to receive little attention from the eco-community.
While their methods and metrics deserve further scrutiny, they compare the land area required to sustain a pet versus the energy consumption from manufacturing and driving a car.
According to the New Scientist article about the research, even a goldfish requires 3.4 square meters for sustenance.
Which brings me to my “holier than thou” portion of the blog. My only pet is a fish who lives in my office. I’ve named him Fishly “Killer” Fishington, because he eats live worms from the vermicompost bin I keep at work, and thus feeds indirectly from a waste stream instead of agricultural land. He even has his own Java fern, which I believe he has registered as a carbon offset. You see, MY fish, is environmentally friendly.
So, which is worse, a Boxer, or a Boxter?