Grass ain't green

You may have heard about a Robert and Brenda Vale’s book Time to Eat the Dog?: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living in which they claim that dogs have a greater (negative) environmental impact than SUVs and/or read a criticism of it (which itself contains flaws) ((I haven’t read the book.)). I’d long wondered about things such as dog pedicures, hotels, vaccinations, etc. and someone had already crunched some numbers to give a ballpark figure. After watching a neighbour turn on his sprinkler system while it was raining last week, I thought I’d finally do a calculation I’d similarly meant to do for a long time: look at the environmental impact of a well-manicured lawn. As it turns out, someone has again already done the calculation. However, one thing from that page really stood out: “Lawn mowing contributes 5% of the total United States GHG’s, according to the EPA“.

So the next time you think that green lawns are better than concrete jungles, just remember that each sliver of manicured grass is like a vampire fang extending out of the earth, draining precious resources.

To Print or Not to Print?

During the summer, I was musing on Vannevar Bush’s ideas presented in his paper As We May Think.  Having the attention span of a…  where was I?  Oh, yes.  So my mind wandered to thinking about by how much our carbon footprint could be reduced by switching to a paperless office.  The answer surprised me and I mentioned it idly to my research supervisor, Steve Easterbrook.  He suggested I publish it on a blog and we discussed the creation of a software tool to help present the argument more clearly.  I’ve finally worked up the nerve to start up this blog to do the former and the latter is in the works.  So here is my first post detailing how much carbon dioxide is emitted by reading a page of text on a computer instead of printing it out.  Ladies and gentlemen, start your stopwatches!

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