Now here is an interesting idea coming from Transition Stroud member, Carol - a 'Carbon Collicotting map'! See the photos - this is basically one household in Stroud's look at where new goods came from into their home.
Green = food
Blue = IT and furniture & white goods etc
Orange = clothes and outdoor & bike equipment
Different sizes of ribbon for different volumes per year:
100 litres + over per year = wide ribbon;
50-99 litres = narrow ribbon
10-49 litres = embroidery thread
0-9 litres = cotton thread
They note that the volumes are guesstimates but the results are interesting - their biggest carbon burner is all their IT equipment that comes from China plus a big new sofa - also from China - and their garden furniture, which although very right-on recycled teak farm equipment, came from Thailand.
Here is a comment on it from Carol: "It'll certainly make me more aware before buying stuff in future (oh god, something else to take into account when daring to make a new purchase!!). It also makes second-hand buying even more appealing!! If you know anyone else who'd like this idea, feel free to pass it on. It's great to do with kids."
Carol notes the idea is borrowed from one created by a friend of a friend (called Collicott) who created maps with primary school children to get them to map where their parents, grandparents and, if known, great-grandparents came from - it showed that even in small Devon villages the ancestral connections come from all over the world.
This all seems to be close to the idea of food miles - that concept originated in 1990 - conceived by Andrea Paxton, who wrote a research paper that discussed the fact that food miles are the distance that food travels from the farm it is produced on to the kitchen in which it is being consumed. As discussed on this blog it is not only how far the food has traveled but the method of travel that is important to consider and the product itself. The positive environmental effects of organic farming may, for example, be offset by increased transportation, unless it is produced by local farms.
But hey this idea of looking at how interconnected we are with so many parts of the world is an interesting way to raise awareness - and as Carol suggests makes alternatives like second hand buying, Freagle, car boots etc all the more appealing to those of us thinking about the carbon. Thanks for this.