Simple, inexpensive things you can do to help the planet
Know your footprint
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Ask anyone, they’ll tell you, the first step to making change is to admit you have a problem.
If you’re reading this, chances are your activities produce more carbon and other greenhouse gases than the average human being. If you don’t know how much more, now’s the time to find out.
The truth shall set you free
The simplest way to calculate your carbon footprint is to use an online calculator. Here are a few of our favorites.
If you live in the United States, one of the best is the Cool Climate Carbon Footprint Calculator by The Berkeley Institute of the Environment. Another excellent calculator for Americans is provided by The Nature Conservancy It takes into account home energy, transportation, diet, and recycling habits. Also USA-centric, Yahoo! offer an easy to use calculator, though it’s perhaps a bit too simplistic.
Our UK readers may want to try the Ecological Footprint Calculator by Best Foot Forward, winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2005.
For the rest of us, the calculator at Carbon Footprint lets you choose the country in which you live. It requires entry of specific amounts of different types of energy used to calculate household use, which can be tedious, but should give accurate results.
Resurgence Magazine offer both quick and detailed carbon calculators, developed by Mukti Mitchell, designer of zero-emission yachts. The quick version lets you calculate the carbon produced by your energy use by asking you how much you spent on different types of energy over the past year while the detailed version asks for kilowatt hours used.
We’ve talked before about the importance of eating less meat to the environment. The Low Carbon Diet Calculator helps make our point by showing the relative impact of different kinds of food. (Of note is the fact that tofu is not much better than beef or lamb in terms of carbon produced!)
A quick and easy way to compare the carbon impact of different modes of travel is to use the CO2 emissions calculator from Transport Direct.
Lastly, if you’re an iPhone user, there are several applications (several of which are free) that can help you calculate and track your carbon emissions, such as Carbon Tracker. Go into iTunes and search for “carbon calculator” for more.
Knowing how much carbon dioxide is produced by what you do every day is the first step towards reducing your impact. Best of all, it’s free to find out.
Do you have a favorite carbon calculator that we missed? Link to it in the comments!
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