Sustainability

Shed a Heavy Load with this Carbon Footprint Calculator

When training for a marathon you need to keep track of your progress so you can keep striving for improvement.  This same concept is applicable to reducing your carbon footprint and with this Carbon Footprint Calculator it’s quite easy to determine how much you’re personally adding to global carbon emissions. Once individuals have a meaningful sense of their contributions to climate change in relation to what we do and to what we buy, actions can be taken to move towards reducing their overall footprint on this planet. The tool divides the E.U. 15’s total carbon footprint into 15 key areas; the sliders give you a quick way to determine your footprint score based on your own circumstances.

As we advance toward a more carbon-responsible future, we’ve got some heavy steps to consider: the average U.S. footprint is 26 tonnes!  By contrast, the average footprint for China is only 5.4 tonnes, and the E.U. 15 average is 14.3 tonnes.

No matter who you ask around the world, everyone wants a healthy, happy and sustainable future – so how can we each get there?

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Top Tips for Personal Carbon Cutting.

The actions you choose depend on where you can see the best opportunities to make an impact. Consider ways in which you might cut your carbon while also improving your health, reducing stress, saving money, or even having more fun!

Food, drink and hotels

  • Eat everything you buy to avoid waste and overbuying
  • Eat less meat (especially less beef and lamb, the processing of which bears a weighty carbon burden)
  • Choose environmentally conscious hotels, cafes, and restaurants
  • Buy seasonal fruit and vegetables or those that you know have been shipped rather than air freighted and hot housed

Shopping (non-food)

  • Fix things when they break instead of disposing of them so readily
  • Buy fewer but higher quality products
  • Pass on things or sell them second hand
  • Lend, borrow, and share more

Travel

  • Fly less (e.g., plan more local holidays or make fewer trips away but stay longer)
  • Drive less by walking, carpooling, cycling, or using public transportation
  • Drive a more fuel efficient car

Public services

  • Look after your health, thereby reducing the health care burden

Home energy:

  • Improve insulation; including windows, walls, the roof, floors, and draft areas
  • Use low-energy bulbs
  • Turn off lights when you can
  • Fit thermostats in every room to avoid overheating or over cooling
  • Fit solar or wind power
  • Reduce the house temperature and just wear a sweater or jacket

Similar to training for a marathon, continuous improvement needs to be a part of a carbon footprint reduction plan. Why not commit to checking your score every six months or so to see how you’re making a difference. And be sure to share the Personal Carbon Calculator with family members and co-workers, as the tool is based on individual usage instead of household.

Good luck taking lighter steps as we all guide our spaceship earth towards a future that’s happy and healthy.


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