Monday, May 13, 2013

What Is The Carbon Footprint Of Your Dog?

Have you ever thought about the carbon footprint of your dog, cat, turtle, or lizard? I did this morning during an encounter with two growling off-leash bulldogs in an on-leash area of Mt. Tabor Park. When I pointed out the leash infraction to the owner who was laughing at the aggressiveness of her "cute" pets, she growled at me as well.

The experience reminded me of an interest in statistics on the carbon footprint of pets. When I returned home from my walk, Google as usual served me well. I found several articles about a study done by two New Zealand scientists in 2009. Here is a link to one of the articles: ABC Article

I wasn't surprised when I read that dogs have a bigger footprint than an SUV. More than twice as much in fact. The footprint of a cat equals a Volkswagen. There were no statistics for our gecko. Enrique's eight crickets a month might equal a matchbox car.

This got me to thinking about my own carbon footprint. Google sent me to a calculator at The Nature Conservancy. My carbon use at 13 tons of CO2 per year, half the U.S. average per person, made me feel great until I noticed that my usage is more than twice the world average per person.

Don't ask me how to compare "acres" in the pet article to "tons" in the calculator. My Google search for this info failed. The closest I can figure is a medium sized dog would be around 5 tons per year.

So where am I going with this? Since we Americans without a pet average almost five times the world tons of CO2 per year, maybe we should think twice about adding a pet . . . and if you walk Fido in Mt. Tabor Park PLEASE keep him on a leash.

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