Weekly Mulch: Why’s Your Carbon Footprint So Big?

Raquel Brown

Our team was at Netroots Nation this past week, so the Mulch is a little shorter than usual. We'll be back in full form next Friday! In the meantime, enjoy our latest roundup of environmental news. People are finally realizing that climate change affects more than the weather. From national security to cattle to birth rates, it is clear that ╲no area of human activity will be untouched by a changing climate,╡ writes Osha Gray Davidson in Mother Jones. Climate change will pose many strategic challenges to national security, including famine, drought, mass migration, epidemics and massive storms. And while our defense department isn't synonymous with "environmentally friendly," (How do you think it develops and fuels its weapons?), it is enormously influential. The defense department could effectively encourage other countries to view climate change as a serious problem and help curb its effects. Although a UN report claims that meat consumption is responsible for 18 per cent of human-induced carbon emissions, Grist's Eliot Coleman argues that itâ•˙s not how much meat you eat, it's how the animals are raised. Feedlot cows that munch on chemically fertilized grain contribute more greenhouse gasses than grass-fed cows, according to Coleman, a renowned small-scale farmer. Few have considered the carbon impact of children. Air America's Avery Trufelman reports that a child produces 5.7 times more carbon than an average female adult, according to a study conducted by Oregon State University. A child's carbon footprint will outweigh their mother's environmentally conscious practices, including recycling, driving less or using energy efficient light bulbs. According to the study, an American childâ•˙s carbon footprint is almost 160 times larger than a child in Bangladesh. Joe Veix raises important questions about how carbon footprints are related to adoption, population control and sexual education for RH Reality Check. But what if we could eliminate our carbon footprint altogether? In These Times features Colin Beaven, a New Yorker who drastically changed his familyâ•˙s wasteful consumer lifestyle and made no environmental impact for a year. Beavan, his wife, and daughter lived in Manhattan without electricity, cars, television, or producing any trash. A documentary about Beavenâ•˙s project will hit select theaters in September and appear in the Sundance Film Festival in January. His book will be released in September. This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment and is free to reprint. Visit Sustain.NewsLadder.net for a complete list of articles on the environment and sustainability, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health, and immigration issues, check out Economy.NewsLadder.net, Healthcare.NewsLadder.net and Immigration.newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.

Please consider supporting our work.

I hope you found this article important. Before you leave, I want to ask you to consider supporting our work with a donation. In These Times needs readers like you to help sustain our mission. We don’t depend on—or want—corporate advertising or deep-pocketed billionaires to fund our journalism. We’re supported by you, the reader, so we can focus on covering the issues that matter most to the progressive movement without fear or compromise.

Our work isn’t hidden behind a paywall because of people like you who support our journalism. We want to keep it that way. If you value the work we do and the movements we cover, please consider donating to In These Times.

Illustrated cover of Gaza issue. Illustration shows an illustrated representation of Gaza, sohwing crowded buildings surrounded by a wall on three sides. Above the buildings is the sun, with light shining down. Above the sun is a white bird. Text below the city says: All Eyes on Gaza
Get 10 issues for $19.95

Subscribe to the print magazine.