Here is a TED talk, it is an interesting primer for environment and sustainability issues (and I doubt the speaker Leyla Acaroglu will thank me for that). But I do wonder is sustainability finally heading towards the main stream?
There is no doubt that the analysis is incredibly complex, and the possibly the most significant factor, us, the end users, cant be easily modelled, or predicted, Just consider the factors for the paper vs plastic, how to account for the damage cause to ecosystems from the tonnes of plastic waste waste floating in the oceans, out of sight – out of mind. Look at http://projectkaisei.org which illustrates the vast cities of plastic that was dumped on to the ecosystem.
The Electric kettle is interesting too, since families here often boil the potable water before using it for drinking water, and that stems from water rationing in 70’s and 80’s coupled with the corroded steel pipes used for distribution prior to 1994, and the complete absence of maintenance for the central water storage tank, it is no wonder your parents had the boil the water. Assuming we 3,000,000 households boiling a standard 1.7 litre kettle, that’s 5,100,000 litres of water boiled (at least once) per day, the energy consumption alone is an huge environmental burden.
But don’t be fooled into thinking I am reminiscing about the past, my office is located in a pre- 1994 building, the water pipes have corroded, and water is usually brown in colour.