How this website started
I grew up watching Captain Planet early in the morning before school and then it hit me like a diesel powered semi when I saw an An Inconvenient Truth sometime in my middle school years, and I immediately thought, “Well this is it, what a ride it has been. Thanks a lot everyone I’m just getting started.”
Recently I looked into LCA analysis (Life Cycle Analysis) for products created through my work (not because I was asked to, but because I care) and briefly learned up on that topic. A catalyst for this was because I read The Responsible Company by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley
This book highlights how companies aren’t considering true cost of products (water, materials, social) how companies are technically not sustainable, and that design choices (made by companies) are where a majority of the impact to the earth is made. It really hit home when a they described the story of how formaldehyde was found in their cotton t-shirts in the 90’s (Chouinard, 2016). This isn’t uncommon in most industries and most companies aren’t aware of what is happening at their factories and how their product is being truly made and processed.
Side note I am going to reference the data I find or back it up so you don’t think I am writing lies to you. I will probably even dig through research papers for you. How sweet am I?
Fast forward to now. I am currently enrolled in a sustainability class at Harvard’s Extension School and am considering looking into a Masters in Sustainability. One night I wanted to calculate my personal impact on the earth, and could not find a user friendly and overall helpful resource for personal LCA. Luckily I was also involved in the Popup Business School at Mr. Money Mustache’s headquarters, so this blog stemmed from that two week course and is the seedling to my grand business idea:
I want this website to be a catalog for you to peruse and make up your own decisions after I present a simple scorecard of the products I review.
Let me share a potential high level example LCA for you.
Example: Random company “Let’s sell tap water in a one time use plastic water bottle out of PET (plastic/Polyethylene terephthalate material). Let’s mine for this material, transport it to a factory in diesel truck, make the bottle with lots of heat for injection molding (machine powered by coal), fill it with a precious local water source used by cities, farms, etc. Then we can transport the bottle all across the country or world (in a diesel filled semi) to be used for most likely less than a day and then sit in a landfill for an indefinite amount of time. Cool? Cool.”
Sorry for the brash reality, but get used to it. This is how your products are made and get to you, so you can make the decisions to learn the truth or keep on keepin on. Either way the cost of products will increase as our resources become more and more finite and you’ll have to make your choice then.
Now its up to you. Do you want to understand the climate footprint you and I make, or do you want to click back so fast out of this website your processor heats up a little and farts out some heat courtesy of some power produced by a nearby coal plant? I will be here writing about my climate footprint either way.
Chouinard, Y., & Stanley, V. (2016). The responsible company: What we’ve learned from Patagonia’s first 40 years. Ventura, CA: Patagonia Books.