What’s it all about?

When we set out we didn’t quite realise what a difficult task the Green Ration Book was going to be! The aim of the panel is to give guidance on our daily activities with regard to the damage we do to the global environment in relation to what our fair share should be.

For example: what is the impact of the wine bottles we throw away? What difference does recycling make?

What we do

The GreenRationBook is related to other measures of environmental impact: Carbon and Ecological footprints. Carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide we cause to be emitted into the atmosphere by the combustion of fossil fuels. The phrase “ecological footprint” is a metaphor used to depict the amount of land and water area a human population would need to provide the resources required to support itself and to absorb its wastes.

These footprints are now widely used as indicators of environmental sustainability. They are commonly used to explore the sustainability of individual lifestyles, goods and services, organisations, industry sectors, regions and nations. The GreenCouponBook is mainly concerned with the impact of individual lifestyles.

Wikipedia, the net encyclopedia, points out some criticisms of footprints and the availability of data: “Calculated footprints can be inaccurate due to simplifying assumptions. Many factors of the calculations are based on crude estimates and the numbers may not be applicable to all places.”

To allow for these and other difficulties, a modified approach is being tried with the GreenRationBook.

A panel of people, the Fishergate Environmenta Panel, will consider environmental issues and make practical judgments without trying to resolve all the theoretical issues. The Green Ration Book will be based on the informed judgments of this panel. Because it is now an established concept the panel will report in terms of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e), which takes into account other factors that cause climate change.

The aim of the GreenRationBook is to make decisions on matters that are too complicated or time consuming for standard footprint methodology. For example, when you dispose of a bottle – what difference does it make whether you drive to a bottle bank, use the local recycling scheme or simply bin it? And what about a chicken jalfrezi? Was the bird fed on soy beans grown on land cleared from the rain forest or was it fed on organic feed? Did it arrive in a van from a remote farm or was it bred locally?