07 January 2010


There is a sort of smugness that comes from living a green lifestyle, but these are the people who go the extra 10 (100?) kilometres toward "reducing their carbon footprint". Somehow, they manage to make you feel like you are living an environmentally unfriendly lifestyle because you:

* Don't go on holiday via astral projection (reducing your Carbon Footprint by not driving a car or, even worse, flying)
* boil the water in the electric kettle more than once (these people even have solar powered kettles).
* have any non-compact florescent bulbs in your house
* your form of transportation has any connection to fossil fuels or electricity (even if it's electric or a bicycle--rubber on the tyres)
* you throw anything into the trash and it isn't reused in some way.
* the food you ate required any energy to raise, transport, or what have you (you should photsyntesise instead of eat).
* Don't get your power from people on bicycles
* Even have a carbon footprint for that matter

I think you get the picture.

BBC's Bang Goes the Theory had an episode that was along this line called The Human Power Station. In this episode they powered a house for an entire day solely through human pedal power: while the unsuspecting family inside went about their normal Sunday routine. The clip below shows what happened when the father used an ELECTRIC SHOWER: malus malorum!

This programme rubbed in how wasteful our lifestyle is (yes, you who double boil that water!) by roasting a chicken with two 60 watt bulbs. Of course, watching 80 people pedal all day to power a house makes the point of how much energy we use. We don't realise how much literal power is needed to push our appliances. Bang did do this in a manner that was entertaining even if it did make you feel guilty for the incandescent bulbs in the fridge and cooker (do they have compact florescent bulbs (CFLs) for those yet?).

You might be able to download this episode here and it does make for fascinating viewing. Although, there were points when I wanted to roast the presenters on a solar cooker because they made me feel guilty for "wasting energy" by merely existing.

Now, I need to find some people willing to power our houses by bicycle.