… and absolute consumption consumes absolutely…

I came across a lovely graph a few days ago… produced below for your viewing pleasure

 showing some interesting statistics for C02 emissions on a per capita basis. Now, I’m not here to argue statistics today.. but this graph triggered some thought processes that had me wake up at 2am to write this post… so here goes.

I live in the modern world, you do too.. if you’re reading this you’re probably part of the smaller % of people who consume the bulk of what the world produces, well.. per capita anyway.. and in doing so you probably produce (directly or indirectly) a good portion of the CO2 as well.


And here is where that graph got interesting for me – Australia, my home country, is shown as having second only to the US, in terms of CO2 emissions per capita (as well as a rather nasty upward trend), and I checked out graphs on personal consumption and its not much different. .. but Australia is what a nation of 22 million in a poplulation nearing 7 billion, what difference could Australia possibly make.


here is some things to consider that woke me up at 2am.

… I bothered to ask… why on earth does country based per capita consumption matter? Doesnt this simply complicate the numbers and allow for the kind of statistical interpretation that enables us individually or at a country level to simply justify our ongoing behaviour.


Australians would simply say ‘our per capita amount is high.. but we have low population, so, we’re not the problem here’ .. conversely a Chinese person could say ‘well, our per capita rate is low so I don’t need to change what I’m doing here’. Anyone else want to sit on their hands?


There are two important measures that we should consider.


How much do I consume? (subsitute use, output, waste as appropriate) individually?

How much do we all consume.. globally


I am not ignoring the role of countries (and their governments), their role in education, direction & facilitation is cornerstone to engaging a population to effect change however..


We as individuals have the greatest opportunity for change.


We don’t need a protocol ratified, a committee formed or a policy directive to swtich to alternative energy, drive less, make sustainably grown food purchasing decisions and consume less generally.

We just need to decide to do it. If 500+ million plus people individually can decide to join facebook in 5 years then surely they can just as easily decide to act individually to do their part to preserve what we have. 


What’s missing is the belief that something has to be done individually or subsequently the will to do it 




I wouldn’t normally push a specific course of action as I like to simply challenge people’s thinking and then enable people to come to their own conclusion as to what they want to do, however if you aren’t sure of simple changes that can make a huge difference then I present the following (in no particular order)

Diet – reduce/remove packaged & takeaway foods, buy locally grown food & produce, eat less but better quality meat

Travel – get a pushbike or a scooter. If you’re part of the 50% of people who now live in urban areas you will in most cases get from A to B faster and cheaper with these options.

Consumption – question the need to buy new when you buy. simple

Energy – switch to 100% green energy (nearly all power providers offer it)

Carbon – offset your life, www.belgravetrush.com – it’s cheap and simple

Housing – if you do need to build/buy new housing ensure your architect & builder understand the energy used in building your house (materials & labour) as well as the ongoing energy profile


Interestingly doing the first 3 offsets the cost of the 2nd two so you will come out about the same $ wise. I’d say “you’ll be healthier & happier too!”… but I’ll leave you to find that out 🙂


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