When Should You Die?

When Should You Die? June 4, 2008

I’ve noted previously the thin green line that separates parody from reality, but I have to say that the folks behind this website have taken unintentional self-parody to an all new level. The site, which appears to be associated with the Australian Broadcasting Company, asks kids to calculate their family’s level of greenhouse gas emissions.* Based on these answers, the site calculates “when you should die” in order to not use “more than your fair share of Earth’s resources.” If you put in the “average” answers for all of the questions, you will be told you should die at age 9.

The use of these sorts of scare tactics is hardly new. When I was in the Boy Scouts, we had a weekend retreat one time that was devoted to environmental issues. This guy spoke to us about how he and all the other adults were using up all the earth’s resources, and that by the time we got to be adults there would be nothing left, but he and his adult friends didn’t care, because they’d all be dead by then anyway. Bwahahaha! Needless to say I was suitably freaked out by this. Also needless to say, I managed to reach adulthood while somehow avoiding the imminent environmental apocalypse of which he spoke. Since then I’ve always been filled with a profound sense of skepticism when I hear people talk about environmental doom and gloom (a skepticism reinforced by the fact that the guy who spoke to my Boy Scout troop was hardly unique). Still, it’s amazing that folks would be quite to baldfaced about it as they are at this site.

(HT: Coyote Blog)

*While the quiz does ask questions about driving, food, flying, etc., it turns out that one’s death date is mainly determined by how much money one spends. If you spend more than a subsistence level on “ordinary stuff” you are doomed to an early death, though you can prolong your life somewhat by spending money on “stuff that’s better for the environment” and “ethical investments.”

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