We all wonder if a particular product we use is “greener” than another. Paper or plastic? Cloth vs paper towels? Ford vs Toyota vs GM?
I often encourage people to look at the “big picture” – that is, at the cradle-to-grave impacts of a product or process. But until now that has been difficult or impossible for the average consumer to do.
Here is an article in today’s Washington Post on Life Cycle Analysis, the quantitative method used to analyze the total environmental impact of a product or process:
I don’t think there’s an iPhone app for it yet, but surely it can’t be far away.
And speaking of iPhones, don’t forget that the “big picture” must ultimately take into account the human costs. For those who strive to practice ethical eating, for example, how can we know if child labor was used, or if the workers (especially migrant workers) were treated humanely?
In spite of our best intentions, there are still many unknowns
– Betty D.