Facing up to the reality of my C02 footprint
As a teenager and into my early 20’s I definitely had a shoe fetish! The one advantage of my ever growing feet was that I could get great shoes in the sales, so over the years I built up quite a collection and somewhat of a reputation. So much so, there is even a shoe themed YouTube video of me being surprised on my 21st birthday, in the shoe shop I worked at during university. Thankfully, I like to think I have come quite a way since then, my shopping urges have drastically diminished and my feet finally did stopped growing…or did they?
Over the last 15 years as I have carved out my own path in life, I started creating and living my own chosen lifestyle, rather than the one prescribed to me as a child or young teenager. With this came some great opportunities, one of which being the chance to travel, but also the responsibility of being accountable for my actions.
I have dabbled in the odd C02 calculator from time to time, so knew this was going to be an uncomfortable step, particularly due to the fact that my travel is higher than most. But sometime you just need to bite the bullet and in order to do things properly, it makes sense to have a solid foundation to work from. By looking into my footprint, I knew I could get a better impression of which elements to consider and where my particular areas for improvement are. For this challenge, I need to confront my current lifestyle head on.
“Climate change is a global problem. Each of us has a part to play, and by calculating your footprint, you’ve taken a vital first step.”
4 different C02 calculators, 4 rather different results
So, here are the figures I got and links to the sites I used… eek, I feel like I’m walking naked onto a stage, but here goes….
In short, ouch, these numbers are tough to swallow. 50% showed I was above the country average and always much higher than what is scientifically acceptable in terms of a sustainable future for our planet. Interestingly, despite using the same parameters for each, its clear there are glaringly obvious differences in how calculations are made and what they measure. Rather than placing too much focus on comparisons, trying to analyse each item in detail or criticise there accuracy I want to talk more about the benefit of doing the calculation and what it means for my challenges going forward.
Yes, I believe, as many of you may be thinking, that these figures need to be handled with caution but the action of actually visiting these sites and filling out information personal to may lifestyle was positive in several ways:
- Each site has really interesting tips and information. I came away with plenty food for thought and more clarity on the areas I want to focus on. My eyes were also opened to the extent of impact from areas other than just travel.
- By doing this, I got visible confirmation on how our lives as individuals do have impact. Yes there are bigger issues and more harmful causes out there, no question about that, but I personally saw how my activities play their part.
- Options for positive actions are plentiful. Several sites offer ways to directly take action for improvement, whether it is getting involved in campaigns, tips on what we as individuals can change or donating money to sustainable development project to offset emissions. How each of us chose to response is a very personal choice but many options are there for us.
I would definitely encourage the use of these tools! You can visit this short post where I review the four sites I used.
My Better Me Green activities over the next weeks will concentrate on these themes: Food & Drinks, Travel, Home & Garden, Fashion & Beauty, Economics & Politics, Apps, Electronics & Gadgets. You will find more content for each on the website as the challenge progresses.
What is your experience with C02 calculators, let me know your comments and suggestions below.
Thanks for reading
Your Better Me Greener