On my way home, while I was listening to a show on the radio after a long working day, I learned about the difficulties of sustaining a pet in the near future within the current consumption habits. Only then did I become aware of the environmental impact caused by the mere fact of having a pet. In fact, one of the first things I did when I broke free from my parents’ rules, was to adopt my dog, Debbie; a lovely Labrador eager to play and please all people around her.
According to the book ‘Time to eat the dog: the real guide to sustainable living’, the carbon footprint of a household dog is much greater than the one of a four-by-four motorcar. For instance, a middle-size hound like a Beagle, requires 0.84ha for its maintenance, against the figure of 0.41ha needed to drive 10,000km in a four-wheel drive. Not surprisingly, since the book’s publication in 2009, there have been many authors that have written to debunk and qualify it.
Evidently, however, enjoying the company of our canine friends has an environmental price that depends on our decision making as consumers. Accordingly, all the statistics agree on the fact that in recent years, Spanish people have increased the budget aimed at our pets and that we have even incorporated greener consumer trends. What’s more, it goes without saying that the purchase of green products is as important as adopting your pet rather than buying it, its sterilisation, or its microchip.
Having said that, it becomes clear that taking action in favour of nature while we take care of our pets is possible. After all, we, human beings, are the ones who have the last word in reducing pollution and make this planet a better place to live.
Carmen Martínez Ruipérez
Escuela Oficial de Idiomas