How much does that ring on your finger weigh?
No, this isn't a picture of me standing on a beach on my hols, forgetting to hold in my stomach.
I'm actually standing on a huge toxic waste dump, forgetting to hold in my stomach.
This 'slimes dam' is on the outskirts of Johannesburg is 11km across and 150m high. It is being created to remove lots of little old dams of gold mine tailings from within the city itself which pose a safety hazard to the local populace. The company moving the waste was financing it solely by extracting more gold from the old waste using highly toxic mercury. From every 5 tonnes of waste, they got 1 gram of gold.
So the answer to my question is, if your ring is 24 carot (ie pure gold) and came from this process, its 'ecological rucksack' is a whopping 50 tonnes.
The ecological rucksack of the UK economy is 35 tonnes per person - that's 35 small cars' weight of stuff being shifted around every year just for me, you and every one of us. After 6 months, less than a tonne of that stuff remains a useful product - the rest has been thrown away.
Makes you think doesn't it?