Many things in life are categorized as mysteries. From who ate the last cookie in the cookie jar, to why the Cubs will never win the world series, some of these mysteries may never be solved…
These past couple of weeks, my partner Clara (shout out hey-yo) and I embarked on a journey to solve one of these mysteries.
The mystery we decided to look into is a Mysterious disappearance…The DISAPPEARANCE of Energy (insert your own dramatic music for added dramatic effect here).
After many sleepless nights of trying to figure who was responsible for such a crime we came to the conclusion that there was an obvious suspect, the average American family.
You see, after narrowing down our large suspect pool, when coming to the conclusion with help from our friends Scottie Bittle and Jean Johnson, authors of Who Turned out the Lights (2009) it seemed to be the perfect crime.
In recent years Americans have become known as OVER-consumers of well… everything. As pointed out in the movie Super Size Me.
Americans have become known for their over indulgence in fast food which is very unhealthy. At the same time Americans are not only over consuming food, they are also over consuming ENERGY. As Bittle and Johnson pointed out the percentage of Americans who own more and more consumer products that emit lots of energy has spiked since 1980.
But why is that the case?
Firstly, according to Bittle and Johnson, in 1973, the average floor space of an American home was 1,660 square feet. It has since increased 52 percent to 2,521 square feet in 2007.
With that additional space comes the American’s necessity to buy more consumer goods.
That natural tendency along with various economic changes creates the perfect crime.
As the average family size has decreased and the household size as increased, the additional space has been filled with more and more STUFF! Stuff like computers, microwaves, refrigerators, televisions, ipads, tablets, phones. All adding to the average carbon footprint emitted per household in America.
Looking forward With this trend the household consumption of Energy will continue to rise as household size continues to grow thus continuing this poor trend for the environment.
In their Annual Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected what the US energy per capita usage would look like by 2035. They concluded that even if
“The increase in efficiency, driven by new standards and improved technology were to take place, it is not high enough to offset the growth in the number of households and electricity consumption in “other” uses.”
These “other” uses are accounted by for the over consumption of goods that fill up the newfound space that continues to be a trend.
This projection establishes the importance of reducing one’s carbon footprint. Given the ever increasing population, household size and tendency to buy consumer goods, these three American trends establish motive and cause for the crime at hand.
Who thought that such a simple fact could provide insight into one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of our time.
Rather than letting this mysterious disappearance become one of the life long unanswered mysteries, we can do something about it. By simply cutting down on ones carbon footprint, we can solve this mystery once and for all.
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