Sunday, April 29, 2007

Human Footprint - Channel 4

It's Channel 4 so it's a not-too-serious ("fart", tee-hee) look at how much we consume, how much waste we produce during our lifetimes.

Of course for the planet's good it would be better off if none of us were ever born. From the moment we start shitting into disposable nappies we're damaging the environment. By "we", I mean us Brits. This programme is the consumption story of the average British person's life, "from the cradle to the grave", not that many of us start off in cradles and end up in graves nowadays.

The figures are taken from simple statistics. And first they have to explain to us dim-witted viewers what exactly an "average" is. I'm quite happy to let that nicely-spoken Scottish Dr Who, David Tennant (who's doing the voiceover) tell me what I already know. But they have to rope in an expert, a PhD from the LSE, who says...

"The point of an average is that it is collated from a sample which has lots of people in it and then you divide in order to try and make that relevant to one person. Obviously there is no one person who lives this life where they produce X amount of excrement and they consume so many gallons of milk and smoke so many cigarettes, there is no one person who does that, so in that sense it represents nobody's life. But if you were to extrapolate this to the whole population then in some senses it does represent what we're all doing."

So basically, this programme is about nobody. Yet it is about us all.

Work that one out!

I can't be arsed to write any more about it - all you need to know is here. They really shouldn't have bothered with the waste of space "arresting art installations" or making the programme at all come to think of it. The web page is good enough. The statistics aren't particularly "mind-boggling" unless you've got a mind that is especially prone to boggle at some silly numbers that mean fuck all.

Why not calculate your own human footprint? Unless you've got something better to do like cut your toenails (which would grow bloody long if you didn't cut them, apparently).



  1. Channel 4 Piling up shite is pushing their luck in my view.

    There was a cartoon in Private Eye a couple of weeks ago about Professor Gillian McKeith spending time gazing at shit. It was called "identifying with the audience".

  2. I've got a lot of carrots to eat to make up to the average.

  3. Murph - I don't know if the faeces showering down over the toilet was one of the "arresting art installations"? Maybe Charles Saatchi was watching.

    Billy - I couldn't believe the amount of carrots we all eat. I have about one a year.

  4. What an intensely annoying site - but strangely hypnotic.
    2 fridges and 3 tellys in my exceptionally long life - I don't think so.
    And does it really use more electricity to power the microwave clock that to cook my food?
    I'll do the carrots for Billy and he can have my cows.

  5. The programme wasn't very consistent. First they said meat is an essential source of protein. Later on they said baked beans on toast is a very good source of protein.

    Make your bloody minds up!

  6. Would that be a human footprint from a stinky foot then?