anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Consumption, China and carbon emissions

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I came across an interesting article on China and its carbon emissions this morning and it got me going. I’ve been trying to be a more conscious consumer for quite some time now, and I will be honestly and say that it’s pretty difficult. Leave it to Michael Pollan to change the way I grocery shop; I can’t even buy a piece of fruit without having an internal dialogue with myself about where the item came from. But food aside, clothes and electronics are even worse, and it turns out that the developed world’s obsession with cheap prices supported by the Chinese export industry are exactly what is leading to China’s extreme carbon emissions.

Here is an excerpt from the blog I wrote over at Wend:

“Economists now say that 1/3 of China’s carbon dioxide emissions can be attributed to the manufacturing of exported goods. That means that in 2005, 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide were emitted into the atmosphere just so that we in developed countries can continue consuming cheap goods.

Studies like these underline the importance of being a conscious consumer; choosing local and sustainable brands over the cheaper imported versions. True, it is difficult to live a 100% import-free lifestyle, but making an effort to support local businesses is a step in the right direction. This holds true for many goods, from surfboards to vegetables. And when you need a product that isn’t produced locally, the best is to seek out companies that are committed to running sustainable operations, and using sustainable materials, abroad.

It’s easy is to blame climate change on someone else, but what we should be doing is taking some personal responsibility. As the Olympic Games kick off and the question of pollution and air quality in Beijing remains an issue we should all be asking ourselves; just how much are we responsible for?”

As travelers and world citizens we need to be conscious about the effects we have not only on our immediate space, but the global space as well; our decisions affect not only ourselves but every human being on this planet. When we travel we interact and learn, making us more aware of our role in a global society; being a conscious consumer is just one of many important responsibilities of that role.

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Written by Anna Brones

August 5, 2008 at 19:54

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