I have to say, this National Geographic ad for the Human Footprint at Salon.com is the web based first ad that I’ve come come across while browsing a website that has ever held my interest. Usually I just click “skip” when these things come up. But I’m actually taking time to go through each link in this one. (There are 10 and then some.)
It asks you questions like “How many eggs do you eat each week?” or “How many showers do you take each week?” and then works out how much resources you work through each year. It also gives you national averages for the UK, US, and Japan, which in themselves are very interesting.
For example, under “How many showers do you take each week?” I put in 8 (on average) because I take one a day and sometimes one extra, you know if you go out and get sweaty or go out and get soaked in the rain, or go for a run and then feel you’d like to shower again. That worked out to 32,344 showers in my lifetime. Not scary. What was scary is that the US average is 28,433 and the the UK average is 14,440! Oh my gosh! I mean, South Africans always joke about smelly British people who don’t wash but come on! What is that? A shower every three days? Good G_d!
But, on the other hand. Maybe we should be taking fewer showers, in the interest of conserving water? That might work in countries where the weather is cool and people turn their frakkin internal heating down (this is such a sticking point for me) but in SA, you get sweaty just sitting on your couch next to an open window. And if you don’t shower at least once a day, you become a walking sweat rag. So I don’t know. Maybe all these averages work out. The British can have their one-in-three-day showers as long as I can have my at-least-once-a-day.
Edit: Here’s a link to help you calculate your own ecological footprint: Eco Footprint Quiz