living sustainably

8. Let's not fool ourselves

© Sasin Paraksa | Shutterstock, Inc. [US] 2018  

We wealthy people like to live by the motto: 
Buy organic vegetables and jet around the world.

«When the focus of travel is on cultural encounters, all people should want to travel. But they should then want to do so in a different form. Stay in place longer to really get in touch with a culture.

The worst thing is the short flight for one day to Paris, then three weeks to Thailand. These are first and foremost consumer experiences and thus parts of an economic and not a cultural globalisation.

We will not be able to afford these consumer trips in the long run for ecological reasons...»
Translated from the interview with the environmental psychologist Marcel Hunecke. Tages-Anzeiger, 05.02.2019

Example 1 
Resource consumption

The resource consumption of people with a high level of environmental awareness and good education is often well above average. The reason is probably a usually higher income. 
Repräsentative Erhebung von Pro-Kopf-Verbräuchen natürlicher Ressourcen in Deutschland. Umweltbundesamt Germany, 2016.

Example 2
CO2 - Emissions 

What about current climate protection - with the targeted global reduction of CO2 emissions to prevent major global warming? 

A reduction has not [yet] been made and global greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise. In 2018, global CO2 emissions hit a record high. 

Which forces are involved? 
Fossil Fuel Doublespeak. 2018

Source: International Energy Agency/Global Carbon Project 2018 

xample 3
2 emissions of Switzerland

CO2 emissions in Switzerland amount to 4.5 tons per capita per year. However, if CO2 emissions from abroad are included, the figure is three times higher, namely 14 tonnes per capita per year.

© Daniilantiq | Shutterstock, Inc. [US] 2019   

The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment shows in «Carbon Risks: First study for the Swiss financial centre» [2015] that the Swiss equity fund market finances emissions of a good 52 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents abroad. This corresponds approximately to the total CO2 emission in Switzerland for one year.

Example 4

We are buying an 'environmentally friendly' car that uses less gas. That's great! But: With the purchase of an ever-larger car and increased driving any positive effect for nature is immediately negated. 

© Grisha Bruev | Shutterstock, Inc. [US] 2019  

Example 5

We are flying more and more. Globally, 2017 was a record year. For the first time over 4 billion passengers were flown around the world. It is a growing trend. In just 10 years - since 2006 - the number of air passengers has almost doubled.

Forecasts of the European Union suggest that international air traffic will increase sevenfold by 2050 and the emissions are expected to increase by a factor 4.

But let's not forget: 
More than 90 percent of all people in the world have never boarded a plane. 

© Pixabay 2018 

Rule of thumb: 
Fly only if you stay at least one week at your destination per flight hour.

Example 6

In Switzerland, for example, we recycle a good 50 percent of our waste. That's great! But: At the same time, the total amount of waste (recycled and incinerated/landfill) from our household has steadily increased.

© Paperboat | Shutterstock, Inc. [US] 2018

The first two objectives, namely avoiding waste and reusing things, have so far hardly been addressed.  

Because only the third-best measure - recycling - allows us to continue to consume as before and without restraint.

Not waste, but our consumer behavior is the main problem.

Example 7

The farmers in Switzerland for example - originally close to nature operating - are today recklessly endangering the supply with clean drinking water and the fertility of the arable land in the medium term due to intensive industrial production. Even more, in the past few years there has been a rapid reduction in biodiversity.

© oticki | Shutterstock, Inc. [US] 2018 

Not enough: In order to be able to fatten the huge livestock in Switzerland, an additional arable area 2/3 times as large as the arable land inland is made use of abroad for the import of animal feed!