According to National Geographic, in 2011 Australians moved into the top five with Qatar and United Arab Emirates when it comes to our per capita ecological footprint. The per capita ecological footprint is the distributed amount of damage each person is doing to the environment.
It seems that each Australian is accountable for 28.1 tons of carbon dioxide per person per year and it is going up. The world average is four tons per person. So, per person, we are producing sevens times more CO2 than the average.
As a comparison Americans produce 19.8 tons per person per year—five times the average.
The Chinese produce only 4.5 tons per person but as there are so many of them this still manages to make them the highest overall carbon dioxide polluter in the world; followed in second place overall by the USA.
On top of this us Australian’s require 753,000 square feet of pasture land to produce the food consumed by one person which is, according to National Geographic, four times what is available on average per person around the world for the production of food.
This makes me feel a little guilty as I travel 180 kilometres down and back to where I work each week—going down on the Monday and coming back, usually (but not always), on the Thursday. But then if I worked in the city that is a 35 kilometre trip so that works out to 350 kilometres and half of that run would be stop/start peak-hour city crawl traffic. So working in the city would probably produce way more pollution than a 110 kph (about 65 mph) drive on a country highway.