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Internet users are killing the planet

Re: Internet users are killing the planet

Unread postby Plantagenet » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 12:06:56

kublikhan wrote:HOUSEHOLD TRAVEL
Annual personal miles traveled per household for shopping: 4,620 miles
average personal trip length when shopping: 6.5 miles


Yes, they are very interesting numbers. But you have to be careful when dealing with numbers to see exactly what the inputs are.

I am questioning whether these numbers represent the "average" trip for all shopping or just the average trip for those shoppers who go by car?

In other words, you are claiming these numbers represent the "average" for all shoppers, but I am wondering if they only apply to those people who own cars.

There are millions and millions of people who live in cities who don't own cars. For instance, I lived in New York City for four years and I didn't own a car. I did all my shopping by walking, biking, or taking mass transit. My average car miles per shopping trip was ZERO. Same thing when I lived in Europe. Average car miles per shopping trip was ZERO. And its the same thing for millions of other people in urban settings. Average car miles per shopping trip is ZERO.

Please consider the possibility that the population of millions of people who average ZERO car miles per shopping trip isn't being captured in that bar plot that only shows average cars for people who use cars.

Get it now?

AND, I also question the claim that people who do use cars really average 6.5 miles per shopping trips for an average of 4620 miles of shopping trips per years. Lets look at the math here....if people actually do travel 6.5 miles per trip for an average of 4620 miles per year, that means the average shopper is making 711 shopping trips each year....or about 2 trips per day every day of the year.

I don't know about you, but that seems absurd to me. I don't know anyone who takes 2 shopping trips per day every day of the year. Is it possible there is a problem with the math you are presenting? Do yo personally take 2 shopping trips every day of the year? What gives?

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Re: Internet users are killing the planet

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 12:45:23

Plantagenet wrote:Yes, they are very interesting numbers. But you have to be careful when dealing with numbers to see exactly what the inputs are.

I am questioning whether these numbers represent the "average" trip for all shopping or just the average trip for those shoppers who go by car?

In other words, you are claiming these numbers represent the "average" for all shoppers, but I am wondering if they only apply to those people who own cars.

There are millions and millions of people who live in cities who don't own cars. For instance, I lived in New York City for four years and I didn't own a car. I did all my shopping by walking, biking, or taking mass transit. My average car miles per shopping trip was ZERO. Same thing when I lived in Europe. Average car miles per shopping trip was ZERO. And its the same thing for millions of other people in urban settings. Average car miles per shopping trip is ZERO.

THis population of millions of people who average ZERO car miles per shopping trip isn't being capture in a bar plot that only shows average cars for people who use cars.

Get it now?

AND, I also question the claim that people average 6.5 miles per shopping trips for an average of 4620 miles of shopping trips per years. Lets look at the math here....if people actually do travel 6.5 miles per trip for an average of 4620 miles per year, that means the average shopper is making 711 shopping trips each year....or about 2 per day every day of the year.

I don't know about you, but that seems absurd to me. I don't know anyone who takes 2 shopping trips per day every day of the year. Is it possible there is a problem with the math you are presenting? Do yo personally take 2 shopping trips every day of the year? What gives?
As I keep saying, you have to look at averages, not you and the people you know. And the national average is not 0, not 1, but 2 cars per household. So yes there are many households that don't have cars. And then there are many households that have 3 or 4 cars. However it all averages out to 2 cars per household.

As for the miles/trips traveled it is household data, not per person data. With an average household size of 3, you would have to divide the trips by 3 to get per person data. Even then, I was also surprised by the high number. However I have confirmed it with multiple sources. This country really is addicted to shopping. Here are additional sources I used for confirmation:

There is little disagreement that shopping comprises a significant portion of our lives. And to some extent, this is entirely expected—to live is to consume. However, in most developed nations, shopping has long since passed the role of necessity and has entered the realm of sport. Our fascination with shopping and consumption has produced many harmful effects on our lives (debt, stress, and busyness). And yet, it continues. Unfortunately, to a degree that few us even realize.

Based on a variety of studies and research methods, here are 17 staggering statistics that articulate our current passion and obsession for shopping:
1. The average woman makes 301 trips to the store annually, spending close to 400 hours a year shopping.
2. Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education
3. Shopping malls outnumber high schools in America.
6. An estimated two-thirds of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) comes from retail consumption.
9. When asked about hobbies, girls (age 13-18) identified shopping as their favorite pastime.
10. And 96% of adults and 95% of teens admit they participate in some form of retail therapy.
11. More than a third of adults and teens said shopping made them feel better than working out.
12. The average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year.

The numbers paint a jarring picture of excessive shopping and unnecessary consumption.
17 Staggering Statistics About Our Shopping Habits

HOW WE TRAVEL
87 percent of daily trips take place in personal vehicles

HOW MANY TRIPS WE TAKE EVERY DAY
Americans take 1.1 billion trips a day — four for every person in the U.S
U.S. daily travel averages 11 billion miles a day — almost 40 miles per person per day

HOW MANY TRIPS WE TAKE IN A YEAR
Americans take 411 billion daily trips a year or about 1,500 trips per person
U.S. daily travel totals about 4 trillion miles — 14,500 miles per person

WHY WE TRAVEL
45 percent of daily trips are taken for shopping and errands
15 percent of daily trips are taken for commuting

THE AVERAGE DRIVER
Spends 55 minutes a day behind the wheel
Drives 29 miles a day
National Household Travel Survey Daily Travel Quick Facts

The above source gives about the same miles traveled daily for shopping. They give 29 miles for the amount the average driver drives daily. They also give 45% of driving is done for shopping and errands, or 13 miles per day. A little less than half of that is shopping, or 6.1 miles per day. Surprising isn't it?
Last edited by kublikhan on Tue 16 Jul 2019, 14:22:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Internet users are killing the planet

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 12:47:37

Also, just because you made zero use of a car when shopping that doesn't mean you had zero emissions. All modes of transportation have associated emissions. Even walking. Especially walking. Your body needs fuel just like your car does. And the food production system in this country is heavily based on fossil fuels. This is exacerbated by an american diet that is heavy in animal products(which consume more fossil fuels vs a vegan diet).

Which is more polluting—driving a mile to work or walking that mile? The easy answer is, of course, driving. Cars have tailpipes; people don’t. Far more energy is needed to push a 3,000-pound car along the road than is needed to move a 150- to 250-pound body along a sidewalk. Walking seems like the green thing to do. But appearances can be deceiving, making easy answers dead wrong. That’s the case here when the calories expended in walking are replaced.

Counting the Ways Energy is Consumed in the Food-Supply Chain
The primary reason that walking to work can be more polluting than driving is that growing crops and raising animals so that they can be consumed and digested by humans involves a food-supply chain that now extends to all corners of the Earth and uses a lot of energy. An unavoidable byproduct of this energy use is greenhouse gas emissions.

Food and Energy Consumption
The food-supply chain in the United States burns a total of 10.3 quads of fossil-fuel-based energy. (A “quad” is a very large measure of energy: 1×1015 BTU; a BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.) The basic problem is that food energy actually produced equals only 1.4 quads, which is about 13.5 percent of the energy absorbed in production. Then, between a third and a half of that potential food energy is wasted at one stage of production or another.

Moreover, the human body is also not very efficient at converting the potential energy in the food it consumes into useful work: Only about 15 percent of the potential energy in food eaten goes into activities such as walking, as well as maintaining all bodily functions. This means that the energy that the human body actually converts into work is meager percentage-wise—something on the order of 1.3 percent of the fossil fuel energy that is used along the entire length of the food-supply chain.

By way of contrast, although the gasoline-power engine is not a paragon of greenness, its energy efficiency is substantially higher in moving people and things from one point to another, with 14 to 30 percent of the potential energy in gasoline actually moving cars.

Derek Dunn-Rankin, a professor of engineering at the University of California, Irvine and an avid environmentalist, computes that a 180-pound person walking one mile to and from work at a pace of two miles per hour will burn 200 calories above the 2,000 calories burned each day to maintain the body’s basic metabolism. However, the production of those 200 calories in food takes fifteen to twenty times as much energy in the form of fossil fuels. This means that driving a high fuel economy car (40 miles per gallon) will use, in fossil fuel energy, only about two-thirds to one half the energy that the person uses in replacing the calories expended on walks.

Concluding Comment
When it comes to energy use and greenhouse gases emitted, appearances can be grossly deceiving. Granted, people who drive everywhere are energy users and polluters. But walkers also use fossil fuels through the food they eat to replace the calories burned while walking. Of course, driving can be more polluting under some circumstances, such as when large SUVs are the preferred vehicles or when drivers insist on doing wheelies at every stoplight.
Why Walking to Work Can be More Polluting Than Driving to Work
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Re: Internet users are killing the planet

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 12:50:50

tire wrote:Most people are smart enough to combine errands.
E.g. Drive to work, on the way back home, get groceries.
Or go and buy new socks? That's next to home depot, let me go and pick up a can of paint at the same time.

CO2 footprint only looks better for home delivery if you assume people drive the last mile for every item purchased separately. Which is not likely.
They looked at multiple scenarios including item bundling(purchasing and delivering multiple items.) Ecommerce still came out ahead:

Multiple scenarios of supply chain configurations, consumer transportation choices, urban density, packaging and item bundling are evaluated. Results show that online shopping is the most environmentally friendly option in a wide range of scenarios.

Item bundling: When both traditional and online shoppers bundle items during the purchase step (e.g. multiple items in one store trip or multiple items in one box delivered from online purchases), it noticeably improves the absolute impact of all behaviors, by optimizing fuel consumption and the amount of material for packaging. However, it does not modify the relative patterns between behaviors.


Of course not every single ecommerce scenario came out ahead of every single retail scenario. As Ghung mentioned, next day delivery option really eats into the emission savings of ecommerce. And not everything needs to be one or the other. For example, you can do the research part of your purchase online and once everything is decided then drive out to the store to pickup the items. I often do this with electronics.
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Re: Internet users are killing the planet

Unread postby Plantagenet » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 16:00:34



Thanks Kublikhan.

You've convinced me now. No more walking or using the bicycle for me. Now every trip will be done by car to reduce pollution and be the most efficient and I will do my part to get my shopping trips count up to the typical rate of 711 shopping trips per year mandated by our e-commerce overlords (snark warning).

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Re: Internet users are killing the planet

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 16:36:50

Nah plant you should do what you do best and take a jet everywhere. And if anyone tries to tell you something you don't like, get snarky with 'em. That'll teach 'em.
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Re: Internet users are killing the planet

Unread postby Plantagenet » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 17:46:54

kublikhan wrote:...plant ... if anyone tries to tell you something you don't like, get snarky with 'em. That'll teach 'em.


Methinks there is snark in abundance here, and coming from multiple sources.

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