Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Is My Carbon Footprint?

I'm sure you have heard of the term Carbon Footprint before. Wondering exactly what it is? Well a Carbon Footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels . This is usually expressed in tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) because that is the most abundant greenhouse gas.

So I decided today that I would try to calculate my carbon footprint. I used the calculator over at The Nature Conservatory. First I determined what my individual footprint is: 11 when the average American footprint is 27. So I am doing OK, but I can do better.

Next I calculated the footprint for my entire household. This number was more disturbing to me. It is still lower than the national average, but not low enough. As a house of five, we consume a lot. But what really made this number so big was the amount my husband drives. While I virtually drive nowhere except to preschool twice a week, he is literally on the road 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Unfortunately, that is his job so I can't really do too much about it. I can however try to makeup for it by doing better at home.

Alright, you know your Carbon Footprint, now what? You can take small steps to try and reduce your it. Here are a few small ideas:

  • Turn your heat down one or two degrees in the winter.
  • Turn your water heater setting down two degrees.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it is full.
  • Only do laundry when you have a full load and use cold water.
  • Line dry your clothes
  • Turn off lights/electronics/appliances when not in use. Unplug them if possible.
  • Do not leave your cell phone/PDA/iPod etc. plugged in over night. Unplug them once they are fully charged.
  • Buy locally grown (preferably organic) food. Locally grown is not transported thousands of miles.

  • Challenge
    Head over to The Nature Conservatory to determine your footprint. Come back and comment with what your footprint is and what you are going to do to reduce it.


    1. What a cool idea!

      My personal is 26
      My family is 53

    2. I only did my own and it was 28. I thought I was doing well, but I need to work more at it. I guess our home needs to be improved. Yikes, I really want to do more.


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