Breathe easy, Land Cruiser owners: your neighbor’s dog is actually killing the earth, not your huge SUV.
According to a New Zealand study, a medium-sized dog leaves a larger ecological footprint than an SUV. The argument is made in Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living by Robert and Brenda Vale.
The New Scientist broke it down by calculating how much land it takes to raise the animals and grain typically used in dog food, versus the eco footprint of building and fueling a 4.6-liter Toyota Land Cruiser. The result? The dog’s footprint is .84 hectares. The Toyota’s is .41.
So the people who own both a Great Dane and a Prius are living a life of eco-terrorism far worse than the owner of a Papillon and a Hummer.
The New Scientist article takes it a step further:
Then there are all the other animals we own. Doing similar calculations for a variety of pets and their foods, the Vales found that cats have an eco-footprint of about 0.15 hectares (slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf), hamsters come in at 0.014 hectares apiece (buy two, and you might as well have bought a plasma TV) and canaries half that. Even a goldfish requires 0.00034 hectares (3.4 square metres) of land to sustain it, giving it an ecological fin-print equal to two cellphones.
While actually eating our pets is probably out of the question, perhaps true greenies can be on the lookout for more earth-friendly ways to feed them.
And SUV owners can keep driving happy knowing the death of the earth is all because of the dogs.
Does this make you feel better about driving a big SUV?