Shopping; shipping; cargo

Today’s NY Times online edition served up two articles highlighting the #footprint & other problems associated with high volumes of online shopping; cargo shipping.

Of course the best thing any of us everyday people can do is be very discerning about what, and how much, stuff we choose to purchase, be it online or in person.

1) “The City That Never Sleeps … or Shops in Person” (NY Times; Guest essay by freelance writer Sonja Anderson)

“A package enjoying its last mile on an e-bike doesn’t mean it hasn’t been made from plastic in another country, flown or shipped to this one using oil or coal and packaged in a plastic envelope or cardboard box. Waste abounds (even if recyclable, this material rarely finds new life). If we want to do better for the environment, we shouldn’t be taking steps to enable more e-commerce, but instead considering how much we could help ourselves by not buying online.
That seems simple, but our problem runs deep. Americans have been nursing a shopping addiction for a while, and e-commerce has only deepened our problem.”

2) “Shipping Contributes Heavily to Climate Change. Are Green Ships the Solution?” (NY Times; by Ana Swanson)

“The ship, commissioned by the Danish shipping giant Maersk, was designed with a special engine that can burn two types of fuel — either the black, sticky oil that has powered ships for more than a century, or a greener type made from methanol. By switching to green methanol, this single ship will produce 100 fewer tons of greenhouse gas per day, an amount equivalent to the emissions of 8,000 cars.

“The effect of global shipping on the climate is hard to overstate. Cargo shipping is responsible for nearly 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — producing roughly as much carbon each year as the aviation industry does. …

“Shipping is surprisingly efficient: Transporting a good by container ship halfway around the world produces far less climate-warming gas than trucking it across the United States. …

“That incredible efficiency has lowered the cost of transport and enabled the modern consumer lifestyle, allowing retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Ikea and Home Depot to offer a vast suite of products at a fraction of their historical cost.

“Yet that easy consumption has come at the price of a warmer and dirtier planet. In addition to affecting the atmosphere, ships burning fossil fuel also spew out pollutants that reduce the life expectancy of the large percentage of the world’s people who live near ports …”

shopping; shipping; cargo