Roland Dürre
Wednesday December 30th, 2009

“My CO2 Footprint” or “Thanks, Werner”

In his last article on  desertec, Werner Lorbeer refers to my “Manifesto on Copenhagen” and gives me some credit for my CO2 footprint.

The credit is not justified.

Here is my CO2 footprint in five categories, which I graded (with myself as teacher) on a scale of 1 to 6 (very good, good, sufficient, adequate, inadequate, fail), just like it was done when we were at school (Werner used to be a teacher!).

  1. Mobility
    That is an area where I used to be really outrageous. And I changed considerably.
    Individual traffic:
    My farewell from driving a car was relatively easy, because if you view it objectively, the advantages of using the car sparingly are just too huge.
    I intend to quit flying altogether. As far as Germany and Central Europe are concerned, flying can easily be substituted by the railway. Here, too, the advantages mostly beat the disadvantages. Unfortunately, there was one exception in 2009. I flew from Konstantia to Munich when we returned from our Danube bike tour from Budapest to Konstantia. This flight, too, might have been avoided. The problem was that bikes are no longer transported in the night train from Bukarest to Munich.
I skipped the Africa safari this autumn, just like I will not fly to South Africa in order to watch the soccer World Championship. I would very much have enjoyed both. It really hurts to abstain.
    Mark 2 (good)
  2. Accommodations
    I live in a huge house with an energy balance that is a catastrophe. To be sure, there is a reason: normally, we are still a family of seven and from time to time, up to ten people live in the house. I managed to lower the general temperature in the house a little, but had to accept being criticized for it.
    At least, I plan to move to a smaller house in a little more than two years. Once that is accomplished, I will get active on the heating technology front. Nevertheless, my footprint is immense.
    Mark 6 (fail)
  3. Food
    I still eat far too much meat, fish, cheese, eggs, etc. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. At least, when I eat Italian, I mostly take pasta and pizza without meat and fish. But when they serve roast pork, Schnitzel, meat loaf or black pudding with liver sausage at the Althaching I just cannot resist.
    Mark 5 (inadequate)
  4. Plastic Junk and Wrappings
    I developed a significant resistance against junk and – even more so – against extensive wrappings. When I go shopping for myself, I hardly ever get anything that comes in a plastic container or tetra pack. For a time, I even managed to get the milk for the entire family directly from the farmer and carry it in glass bottles by bike. Unfortunately, the silo smell got more and more invasive over the years, so the milk drinkers objected.    
When it comes to yoghurt and such, I do not find it hard to abstain from food in plastic containers. All I need to do is imagine how it was produced and filled in.    
Mark 4 (adequate)
  5. General Consumption Habits
    This is an area where I have become rather hesitant. I only buy new clothes when there is a real necessity. Abstaining is easy, because “If you have a full dish of rice in front of you, it is easy to shit (proverb from Vietnam?)”. The wardrobe is full enough to be an extra motivation for not buying anything new.
    All my life, I enjoyed buying shirts, t-shirts, jeans, suits and ties just because I relished it. That makes it easy for me to stick to my buying moratorium. Except when it comes to suits. I have quite a wearout when it comes to suits (going by bike is bad for trousers). Consequently, I introduced the “law of two”: I get a new suit as soon as two old ones are ruined.    
As far as shirts and other clothes are concerned, I adhere to the “min-4-rule”: only after four old shirts need to be discarded, I can get a new shirt.
    And I will continue to use my two MacBooks as long as possible.
    Mark 4 (adequate)

Taking these aspects into consideration, I get the total mark of 4.0. Because of an “inadequate” and a “fail”, however, there is a high risk that I may not be permitted to advance.

It must be noted that I sometimes find it hard to prevail among the people in my direct environment (family and enterprise).

🙂 Well, and since my behaviour is so totally in discord with our “Growth Acceleration Law” (what a term!), this diligent subject of Frau Merkel also has a bad conscience. Maybe I will buy a real expensive bike next spring in order to salve my conscience. That would cost as much as the wreck premium was worth!

(Translated by EG)

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