Do you know what your carbon footprint is? I didn’t, but I took a little quiz to see what it was, and I am using more than the average American. The world-wide average for one person is 5.5 tons a year, and for Americans it’s 27 tons a year. I use 34 tons a year. I found this number by using the Nature Conservancy’s Carbon Footprint Calculator.
I think that my score was high for several reasons: I drive a lot and I drive a station wagon. I also don’t really recycle or compost. There’s a campaign in the UK for people to take a pledge to try and reduce their carbon footprint by 10% by the end of the year 2010. It’s a small percentage and a small amount of time, but it is something almost everyone can do. There are a lot of simple things to do to help save energy and reduce your carbon footprint:
- Turn down your heat by five degrees and add an extra layer of clothes and another blanket.
- Check your tire pressure and your air filter in your car.
- Eat more local food – if it doesn’t travel, it’s better for the environment.
- Buy higher quality items – figuring that if they are more well-made, they will last longer.
- Drive less – take public transportation, or bike to work one day a week.
- Don’t waste food or water.
- Buy antiques – it doesn’t take any additional resources to make them.
I am going to compare my electricity bills now and again in 12 months, and see if there’s any difference. I already go to the Farmers’ Market once a week, and will continue that. I already keep my house pretty cool in the winter, and keep the air conditioning at 80 in the summer (it’s the humidity that’s a killer).
Start small. But start.
All images from here