What is a carbon footprint? It is the contribution each of us makes in our daily lives to the greenhouse gas emissions that are the cause of climate change. The good news is that we can change the amount of carbon emissions we produce. If enough of us reduce our carbon footprint we can slow the worst consequences of climate change.
There are many relatively easy changes we can make in our routines that would reduce our carbon footprints. We can make different choices in our homes, in the food we eat, what and how we throw away and how we travel, all of which will influence our carbon footprints. For example, travel by air is the worst contributor to carbon emissions. Choosing to drive or take the train instead of flying for short trips like New York City to Boston would reduce carbon emissions. Heating and cooling your home with more ecologic awareness, changing to efficient lighting, unplugging your electronics when you’re not using them, eating locally and seasonally rather than buying off-season fruits and vegetables that have been trucked across the country or flown from other countries are just a few of the many small changes we can make to make an enormous difference.
The Nature Conservancy has a free carbon footprint calculator on their website. I took the quiz and was horrified that my carbon footprint was higher than the national average! After learning my results I read all of the follow-up articles on what I can do to reduce it.
This website, carbonfootprint.com, has a much more in depth calculator for both businesses and individuals. There are follow-up articles full of useful information.
And a great article about reducing our carbon footprints.
And an article about offsetting carbon emissions from travel.
Carbon footprint of the average American household from UC Berkeley: