What Is Your Carbon Footprint?
Discover how your daily actions create an effect on the environment
Almost everything you do has an impact on the world around you. Whether it is a small or large action, how you live your life adds up to produce your overall carbon footprint (your total effect on the environment).
How can you determine your carbon footprint? Evaluate the following list and give yourself one point for each item for which you currently participate.
Do you participate in home recycling? Give yourself one point for each item you recycle:
- Newspapers and other paper
- Aluminum cans and foil
- Glass bottles
- Tin cans
- Plastic containers
- Plastic bags
Shopping and purchasing
Are you eco-conscious when you shop? Give yourself one point for each action in which you participate:
- Bring your own bags to the store
- Buy items with less packaging
- Purchase goods made from recycled materials
- Buy clothes made from natural fibers
- Choose foods that do not have chemicals
- Avoid buying unnecessary goods
- Re-use and repurpose worn items
Eating and dining
Are you conscious of what you are eating and where your food comes from? Give yourself one point for each action:
- Participate in a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle
- Purchase items from local farmers
- Choose products grown with little or no pesticides
- Grow your own food
- Limit meat products
How much do you conserve energy? Give yourself one point for each action:
- Keep electricity use to a minimum
- Turn down the thermostat in winter and turn it up in summer
- Use alternative sources of energy
How do you get around? Give yourself one point for each action:
- Choose not to own a car
- Ride your bicycle or walk to your destinations when possible
- Use public transportation
- Carpool with coworkers
- Combine errands to reduce the time you must use your vehicle
In your spare time
What do you do for vacations and fun? Give yourself one point for each action you take:
- Stay close to home and explore local venues
- Use a tent, rather than a camper
- Take reusable items (plates, cups, silverware) on picnics
What it means
Add up all your points. There are 30 points in all. Did you get at least 20 points? If not, don't be discouraged. According to the website www.conservation.org, every change you make can make a difference, no matter how small it seems.
To change your carbon footprint, consider setting environmental goals. Look at the above list and note what actions you are currently not participating in but could easily change. Set an annual goal to cut your carbon footprint in half by concentrating on the daily actions you can change. Some of the easiest changes to make in your life include your shopping habits. What items can you purchase locally? Hop on your bike, grab your shopping bag, and visit your local gardeners, farms and farmers and get to know the people who grow and sell food in your area. Not only will you help your local economy, but you'll have less impact on the environment and be eating healthier as well.
It may not be possible to lead a life entirely devoted to eco-consciousness. However, each little change does make a difference and can lead to a larger impact in the world around you.