I read yesterday that keeping a goldfish as a pet consumer resources equivalent to the energy used by two mobile phones. Keeping a cat annually uses the equivalent of 0.15 hectares of resources. A German Shepherd is the equivalent of about 0.8 hectares.
Who calculates this stuff? The only farm produce I can think of that might enable a universal mathematical link between hectares, kilojoules, resources and zoology is illegal where I live. And clearly, the statisticians using it have tried it - and inhaled!
I went home last night and stared into the goldfish bowl considering how energy efficient its pescatorial occupant looked. I got the cat and stood it alongside to compare. But cats tend to want to be anywhere other than where you place them - energy consumed biting, scratching and finally exiting the experiment. Our cat is clearly a fast burner and probably exceeded his 0.15 hectare annual quota in that single hissy fit.
So what was the point of the story, occupying about $12,000 worth of space in the Financial Review? It was covering booming pet accessory sales, climbing dramatically out of the backwash from the GFC. Don't tell me you've already forgotten what the GFC is! Remember that time when the world threatened to melt down? That was the GFC. Clearly pet owners are optimists and are living proof of the psychotherapy or blissful ignorance that owning a pet offers.
But they are also burning up the planet's resources at an astonishing rate - a point yet to emerge in the goldfish bowl that is the disintegrating Copenhagen summit. Perhaps it is the reason the Africans walked out of the talkfest yesterday. They're already sharing pets within their villages, a proposal presented as an energy saving solution in the Financial Review, and are frustrated that the world doesnt' acknowledge their environmental contribution.
With cow farts already exempted from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) just torpedoed by the Liberal Party and pets vacuuming up hectares of output all through the suburbs, someone has to get to Copenhagen with a blueprint for a global pet sharing scheme. I hereby volunteer to consume some megajoules and flit to Copenhagen to save the talks and bring the Africans back to the table to describe how best to implement community pet sharing, thus restoring glaciers in Greenland.
But wait, what additional energy will we consume transporting goldfish in their bowls to a neighbour up the street? Will this throw the calculations out? We'll never know until Dr Jim Penman launches a new 'Jim's Pet Sharing' franchise and we have a 13 number to call to organise Rover's daily transfer.