California Autos Examiner

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Carbon paw print? Forget the SUV, is Fido more damaging to the environment?

Nothing like forcing your beliefs on other people, is there?

Remember the South Park episode where Kyle's dad was placing fake parking ticket's on the windshields of SUVs to raise awareness? I have embedded the episode below, but the basic idea behind the program was the belief by many people that the SUV is one of the four horsemen of the ecological apocalypse.

I have long advocated that true SUVs be left to those who actually go off road, tow boats and not used for trips to the mall, but I have not gone around "ticketing" people. At the end of the day, it is a free country and frankly many of those sanctimonious folks who "ticket" SUV drivers would be better off by setting the example they wish for others to follow rather than smelling their own gas (see this Smug Alert). As it so happens, buyers are now shifting away from truck-based SUVs and into much more practical crossovers (essentially modern day wagons on stilts ) of their own accord.

Now comes a new book called "Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living" that makes the assertion that many household pets actually consume as many if not more resources than large cars and SUVs. View this slideshow for examples of various pets' environmental cost. Does a medium sized dog actually equal a Toyota Land Cruiser? I am not convinced of the findings, but if they are willing to give me a Land Cruiser for a year, I already have the medium sized dog and would be happy to conduct some research. The book goes on to suggest that we keep recyclable / edible pets instead, such as rabbits, chickens, etc. A little too Soylent Green for you?

Frankly, I do not believe that a bunny is quite the same as a dog or cat, so I am not convinced that types of pets are interchangeable. The book certainly has a provocative title, but beyond the theatrics it does raise awareness that when we measure our resources, nothing should be overlooked. It is easy to villainize cold, hard steel, but much harder to coldly analyze big brown eyes, a wet nose and a wagging tail. If this book helps to open people's eyes to the reality that cars and trucks are not completely responsible for our woes, then it has accomplished something.

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1 comment:

Mike said...

Interesting topic. I think it's important though to also consider the environmental impact to create the two in the first place. The majority of the impact a car has on the environment is in the manufacturing of it in the first place. As energy intensive dog humping looks to be, I somehow doubt a German Shepard takes anywhere near the kind of energy and resources a Land Cruiser does.