SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom showed he still knows how to grab headlines. Like his proposal to post warning labels for cell phones. However, if Newsom really wants to expand his campaign to protect consumers and the environment, he should propose a ban on pets.
While the supposed link between cell phone use and brain tumors has been largely dismissed by many experts, including the American Cancer Society, there's substantial evidence that pets and their appetites impact the planet, negatively.
The land required to feed a medium-sized dog's appetite is approximately 2.07 acres -- around twice the land required by a 4x4 driving just 6,200 miles a year, including energy to build the car.
Cats have an eco-footprint of about three quarters of an acre, slightly less than driving a Volkswagen Golf for a year, while two hamsters equates to a plasma television and even the humble goldfish burns energy equivalent to two mobile telephones.
These calculations come from New Zealanders Robert and Brenda Vale. The Vales, specialists in sustainable living at Victoria University of Wellington, analysed popular brands of pet food and calculated that a medium-sized dog eats around 360 pounds of meat and 200 pounds of cereal a year.
No one soon is going to ban pets or cell phones. Mayor Newsom and his staff aren't going to stop using their mobile phones. The city would come to a standstill. So what's the point of putting a warning label on cell phones or where they're sold. It might encourage more texting and less calling, but in the end the proposal is just environmental grandstanding.
Likewise, pets won't be banned soon, even though they impact the environment as significantly as those monsters on the road -- cars, trucks and crossovers.
Follow the money. Pets won't be banned because it's a multi-billon dollar industry. Same for cell phones. None of the media antics of politicians -- whether it's the Mayor of San Francisco or the delegates at the recent Copenhagan Climate Conference -- is going to change that. Praxis over ideology.