Stuff. We have a fetish for stuff. Computers, televisions, blenders, leaf blowers, nose-hair trimmers, shoes, hair dryers. I’m guilty of this. I have a phone and a laptop and 3.75 bicycles. By far, the largest thing that isn’t permanently attached to the ground that you are likely to own is a car. Or, perhaps, you own two cars. Maybe you are “environmental” and own an electric car. But you still have a car.
That car had to be manufactured and shipped. The stuff that was used to manufacture that car had to be mined and shipped. The amount of energy embodied in that process averages 76 000 kWh. How might you offset any emerging guilty feelings?
You could live in a tent for five years (76 000 kWh is roughly the energy needed to heat and cool a typical home over that time). You could eat half as much for twenty years (76 MWh etc). Or you could repent by replacing all your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents and make up for 76 MWh in roughly 30 years.