My shoe size

Lachlan Hardy

Photo: Lachlan Hardy

Getting my feet fitted for school shoes when I was a kid was a day-long ordeal. The Clarks lady would measure my feet. Sigh. Contort her face, flummoxed. And then measure them again. Yes, I would reply, I have one foot a whole size bigger than the other.

It has taken me a while to perfect the art of the shoe fitting. For many years my poor right foot has been squashed into its shoe; its toes a little crooked from neglect.

But as the earth heats up, my foot is getting bigger, not smaller. And although I cannot be absolutely sure of it, I think my ecological footprint is swelling in Jakarta. Here are the reasons for my hypothesis:

  • This year I flew from Sydney to Bali and then Bali to Jakarta. I have booked flights to fly from Jakarta to Bali, Bali to Jakarta, to holiday it up for one week of my leave.
  • To escape Jakarta’s stifling heat, I spend most of my time in air conditioning. True, my office in Sydney was air conditioned, like my office in Jakarta. But now that I sleep in an air conditioned room, my overall cool-air consumption has increased.
  • I hardly ever catch public transport. My main means of transport around the city is the ojek (motorcycle taxi) followed closely by the cab. And I walk less because of a mixture of the heat, pollution, cracked footpaths and unwanted male attention.
  • So many things, even fresh produce, that I purchase are wrapped in numerous layers of plastic.

Now this is just an hypothesis. It will probably prove to be correct because of the Boeing 707 alone.

My footprint was probably average to below average in Australia, and in Indonesia, I assume, I consume more energy than the average Indonesian. Is this true? What are the reasons (excuses) for my bigger feet amid the smaller shoes?

Next Monday (my day to blog), I will deliver my conclusions.


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3 Responses to “My shoe size”

  1. nyscha Says:

    “How many planets does it take to support your lifestyle?”

    I know my footprint is HUGE in Jakarta. The points you gave to support your hypothesis generally apply to me also, and more.

    I take a car with me everywhere. I am always in an air-conditioned space because of the stifling heat. My consumerism level has reached a new high. The percentage of Goods I consume is 39%, which beats all other categories. I don’t take public transport. I am a rampant smoker.

    In Jakarta, the conditions of the city really push you to consume more energy, like you pointed out, because of the heat, pollution, cheap goods and unwanted harassment from strangers. The recycling system is also unreliable, and have you ever noticed the trash-bonfires that constantly pollute the streets of JKT?
    I don’t remember having such big feet in Canada.

    Ack. It takes 5 planets to support my life. Wow.

  2. k8tb Says:

    The dilemma here, is the choice of either security and relative comfort in a foreign country (foreign to Australia that is). Or, have a smaller footprint, have no sleep, sweat like a pig, get abused by sleazy men on the street, and probably die some horrible death from some unknown tropical disease that only affects small white girls.

    The guilt of an ecological foot print is a big weight to have on one’s shoulders, but it will only effect you this way if you have a good conscience. Which I believe you do!

    What worries me, is how easily we can consume aimlessly and recklessly for fun, for pleasure or even for war. Planes fly km’s and km’s to drop bombs on countries, planes also fly km’s to fulfill someones dream of having a shopping spree in NY followed by London, Paris and then Tokyo.

    What’s to blame? I blame not only Indonesia’s massive population on a very small set of islands, but also corruption, capitalism, extreme temperatures, and the military industrial complex, and capitalism again…

    I think an individuals ability to have a good or bad impact on the environment is dependent on location. Im not familar with Jakarta myself, but will use Australia as an example. Australian’s who live in the western suburbs of Sydney, have to be car dependent, because there is no other option to get work to pay the morgage etc. Whereas if you live in inner city Melbourne, you can live your whole life never needing to use a car to get by. It really comes down to the options available to a person in a locality. Those options are provided by governments, and in turn are ‘influenced’ by big business.

    What can the Indonesian government do to allow individuals to be able to minimise their impact on the environment, and reduce consumption? It’s a big question, and sure it’s a big task for a place the size of Jakarta.

  3. Moody in a manic city « Om’bak Says:

    […] on flawed calculations, my hypothesis actually turned out to be wrong. Using the Global Footprint Network’s Ecological Footprint […]

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