The headline says it all, I'm looking for a standard way of assessing a lifestyle against environmental criteria. I'm thinking of some sort of lifestyle questionnaire that will produce a score from 0 to 100%
I have a friend at work with what I regard as a high 'environmental conscience' who's always very keen on the latest environmental battlefront, however when she discusses her lifestyle I'm not very convinced that she's as environmentally friendly as she thinks she is. I find this particularly annoying when she tries to get me to change my lifestyle to match hers!
Examples.... She drives an electric car, and thinks I ought to trade in my 12 y/o diesel for something similar. However, she buys a new electric car every 2 years, only lives 3 miles from work and keeps a 2nd (petrol) car for use at the weekends. I cycle to work 20 miles a day and only use my dirty old diesel for maybe 100 miles a week. Whilst I know that on the face of it electric cars are cleaner than diesel, dig down a little deeper and I think that out of the two options described above, I'm probably having less negative impact than her
She's invested in a wood pellet boiler to heat her house. I have a 40 year old non-condensing gas boiler to heat mine. On the face of it the wood pellet burner ought to be more environmentally friendly, but... the pellets are shipped in from Canada, the thermostat is permanently set to 23 degrees C, it costs over £3000 a year to run. My thermostat is set to 19 degrees C, I only heat the room I'm in and my gas bill is less than £800 a year, if it gets cold I put on an extra jumper or light an open fire using windfall logs from the forest next to me.
Final example - she religiously sorts and re-cycles two bin-fulls of waste every week. I'm not very hot on recycling, but I only throw out half a bin of rubbish a fortnight.
I think my friend has a very simple view, electric cars good, diesel cars bad. Wood burner good, gas burner bad. Recycling good, throwing away bad. I think there's a much deeper picture that also needs to be looked at however neither of us have been able to convince the other of our position.
So - is there an independent, impartial, unbiased, peer-reviewed and scientific methodology for assessing an individuals lifestyle to evaluate that persons environmental impact?