Thursday, September 07, 2006

The animals went in 2x2 - so why do schoolkids go in 4x4s?

Of course, a 4x4 is essential for taking the kids to school - if the school is on top of a mountain!

How deliciously ironic to see a sodding great, brand-spanking new, more-brass-than-class 4x4, with bull-bars on the front, containing the grand total of one yummy-mummy and one small child - with 'Child on board' sticker AND a sticker supporting The Woodland Trust! How many acres of forest do you reckon it would take to carbon neutralise that hunk of metal?

Of course, it would have been much more amusing if the YM in question hadn't parked at a jaunty angle on the double yellows, then performed a speedy 11-point turn, scattering buggies, toddlers and their grown-ups as she went.

And did I say anything? Did I call her on it? Nah - course not. Just went on my way, silently gnashing my teeth.

Envious? Moi?


BenB said...
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BenB said...

I trust that the Mad Muthas weren't asking a rhetorical question about carbon offsetting an SUV. So here's the scoop based on new planting of birch trees (as per

A nasty death-dealing 4x4 will produce around 4 tonnes of CO2 a year. It takes one tree grown to maturity to soak up 1 tonne of CO2. A tree takes c.60 years to grow to maturity. So to offset 4 tonnes annually, you'd need to plant c.240 trees. Birch trees need about four metres all around as space. That means you'd need an area about 60x60 metres. That's close to 1 acre.

Then you have to bear in mind that 50% of the car's lifetime CO2 pollution takes place before it's even in the showroom (it's a dirty business, building cars).

So in fact, you'll need about 2 acres to offset lifetime CO2 pollution of the car.

Multiply that by the number of cars in the UK (about 30 million) and you'd need 93,000 square miles - about 100% of the UK's land mass!!!

Now I'd love to see the entire country covered in forest, but that's not going to happen in my lifetime.

Anyway, by the time we'd planted about a 10th of the required amount, the oil crises would have hit us hard, so the 4x4's will be sitting on blocks somewhere while their tyres are being used as "chook stacks" for composting chicken shit ( , their alternators being used in microwind electricity generators and their wing mirrors providing the reflective power for a solar oven.

But I have an unshakeable faith in Yummy Mummies - they'll rise to the task. Compared with sewing 30,000 sequins onto Felicity's tutu the night before the kindergarten performance of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy because you'd just learned that Felicity's best friend's mother had ordered hers from Julienne & Porselli two weeks earlier, powerdown will seem like a piece of cake.

Skookum said...

I am very amused by the Mad Muthas' blog, but am very confused by benb. Dude, you lost me. It was all the math. Next time: try visual aids. A nice pie chart, maybe...or just bring some pie. Everyone loves pie. Pie makes people happy. Just a thought.

Lotus Reads said...

Love the title of this post and it asks a pertinent question, too! :) Will stop by your blog again.

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