“Will you marry me, my darling, but without a ring?”

“What planet are you living on, no ring!”

“I’m living on the planet where if I slipped a gold band on your finger darling, every time I looked at it all I would see is 1.5 to 3 tons of rock being ripped from the earth in order to satisfy your artificially induced desire to follow the rest of the sheep in the world and buy into the gold and other precious metal marketers’ advertising hype that you when you get engaged you have to have a diamond ring and that when you get married you have to have a gold band. And what’s more, what is the point of paying an exorbitant carbon tax on an accessory that could be a risk to your life with the Rolex gang still at large, when what we really need is to invest in solar energy for our future home.”

“That’s quite a mouthful, but it isn’t very romantic darling.”

It isn’t very romantic, but this is the reality of the imminent carbon conscious world we face where each and every commodity will be assessed and carbon taxed according to its carbon footprint, as Marco Lotz, Nedbank’s Sustainability Carbon Specialist explains.

The term ‘carbon footprint’ includes the entire sustainability field, including energy, water and the natural and social environment, referred to as the ‘larger greenhouse gas space’.

Which means that when you look at that wedding band on your finger, what you are looking at is not only all those tons of ore, but also the enormous amount of energy (electricity and other) required to excavate it from the earth. And while South Africa is blessed with high quality precious metal ore, the ore is very deep – South African deep gold mines are from 1km to 4km underground – and the deeper the mining activity the more energy is required.

“So you see, darling, if a carbon tax is placed on gold, then it will also include a filthy energy electricity/energy tax due to its associated pollution, and the carbon footprint associated with that 10 gram pure gold ring will be more a badge of shame than love.”

Wondering about those rings on your fingers yet?

Aren’t we all, and that’s not all, grocery shopping will never be the same again either. As Lotz points out, fifteen years ago no one would have believed you if you had told them that in a few years time they would be paying for plastic bags. Today, no one will believe you if you tell them that in a few years time they will be paying a carbon/pollution levy on groceries.

Lotz says it is foreseeable that every trolley item will have an associated carbon price that will be transferred to the consumer. This carbon levy will not only have to account for the packaging used, but also for the transport associated with that product and the actual production of the content.

“If you still agree to marry me without a ring darling, will you also agree to forego Norwegian salmon, Danish feta, Swiss cheese, Turkish delight and Russian vodka?”

“What exactly are you offering me then?”

“My companionship, darling, isn’t that what love