As well as some routine advice on how to reduce your Carbon Footprint, these included a ‘sustainability index test’ and a ‘sustainability score card’. You answer some multi-choice questions on the test, score your answers and transfer the results to the score card. Rather like those questionnaires in lifestyle magazines, the ones that no one takes too seriously.
Surprisingly, section A of the score card is headed ‘Calculating Life Expectancy’. On completing this, I am told that my ‘estimated life expectancy’ is 76.7 years.
Well, it’s handy to know. I can plan my retirement knowing how long the money has to last, and I know how long I’ve got left to do those things that I always wanted to.
But should the Council be in the business of telling me this? I rather think it should be a matter for health professionals. What if I were already 76? It might seriously upset an older person to be told they were likely to die within the year.
I’d have been given another 4 years if I’d answered that I was a vegetarian or ate meat no more than twice a week. Never mind what meat, or how much, or what the rest of my diet is. I may as well give up eating my ‘five a day’, as according to the Council, it won’t prolong my life by a single day.
I can find no credible evidence that vegetarians in the UK will live four years longer than meat eaters. Nearly all claims that vegetarians live significantly longer than meat eaters in any given society have ignored the other attributes of vegetarians, who tend to be non-smokers and very aware of health issues, for instance.
If I took public transport to work instead of driving, I’d apparently live another year. Only, in my experience of crossing the city on our bus network, if two hours of moderate stress every day will extend my life more than one hour of comfortable travel. Some of the other test questions are similarly suspect.
There are also many factors that aren’t considered, such as income, which we know has a major effect on life expectancy, and alcohol consumption.
Our council taxes should not be paying people to produce this pseudo-scientific nonsense. You might as well enter your details on web sites like Death Date (please note that this is not an endorsement of that site).
I think one reason for calculating your life expectancy is that is used in Section D: ‘Calculating your sustainability Index’. If you’ve managed to cope with the fairly complex system of transferring answers and scores, you finally get to a formula that I think the average citizen will struggle to evaluate.
Using my calculator, I find that my sustainability index is apparently slightly above the average in the US, almost twice that in Zimbabwe, but well below the average in the UK. It’s rather surprising that Zimbabwe has the lowest sustainability index in the world. Surely one of the poorest nations on earth cannot be living a life style less sustainable than the United States?
I really have no idea what this means. I’d like to know how much it cost to produce, and that would include all the salaries involved.
I have been critical of many previous Council surveys. They often offer choices biased towards the Council’s preferred answers. But this one really should never have been produced.
If you do get one, please remember to put it in your green bag. It’s the best place for it.