You take public transit to work. You opt for the fan over the air conditioner. You separate your papers from your plastics from your glass. You’re conscious of your impact on the environment. Or are you?
A new online exam featured recently on National Public Radio called Consumer Consequences looks at this question in a fun but insightful way. The site’s headlining question, “What would the world look like if everyone lived like me?” arguably raises the curiosity of anyone with a few moments to spare. For some, it might be a chance to finally realize the finite resources that surround them, regardless of whether they’ve figured out that climate change might do more than just increase their vacation opportunities.
On the other hand, it might be a chance for all you hardcore environmentalists out there to finally have irrefutable data supporting all those times you opted for the bike over the car. Well, give your environmental ego one last moment of ignorant bliss – your footprint might be much bigger that you think!
A part of American Public Media’s special series Consumed (which is a truly engaging exploration of the long term sustainability of the all-American lifestyle), Consumer Consequences is a fun and educational interactive game with the mission to help you figure out your daily environmental impact.
First, pick an avatar. Then pick your location: farm, suburb, town or city. Then follow the icons from your home, to your transportation, to your food, to your trash habits and watch as the number of “earths” required to support your level of consumption grows bigger!
Try as one might, even in the most meager of circumstances by American standards, getting below the “1 Earth” mark is a difficult challenge. Particularly since your environmentally religious approach to recycling is outdone by all those trips to the local café. Not to despair though! Don’t forget that we ARE using standards set by a country that, if everyone lived like it, consumes on average “8 Earths” worth of resources.
So here’s your chance: the game provides a challenge, or an opportunity we’ll say, to improve your “score” and learn where you can most effectively begin cutting out wasteful and unsustainable practices in your everyday life….which is important. Because this may just be the first exam that you really can’t afford to fail!