Thursday, April 2, 2009

Earth Day Tip #2: Calculate Your Footprint

I'm such a dork. I actually think it's pretty fun to calculate my footprint then cross check it every few months to see if I've improved.

There are two types of footprints that you can calculate. Carbon and ecological. Your carbon footprint measures the consequences of your actions in terms of how it contributes to global warming. Your ecological footprint measures your consumption of natural resources and the Earth's capacity to regenerate those resources. Together they can give you an idea of how green you're living, as well indicate what areas you can be greener in so that you can reduce your footprint.
Let's calculate both our carbon and our ecological footprints now to get a baseline of how green we're currently living. I'm not sure how great the international versions are. If you know a better one, send me the link and I'll update the blog. Thanks!

To find out your carbon footprint, go the the Nature Conservancy's page. The international version can be at Carbon Footprint.

To find out your ecological footprint, US and Australia residents can use the (falsely named) Global Footprint Network's calculator. International readers can find a version at My Footprint.

The US average for carbon is 27 tons a year. My average: 14, with a majority of my carbon coming from air travel.

If everyone on the planet lived like the average American, it would take 5 Earths to sustain us. According to my ecological footprint, it would take 3.9 Earths to sustain my living habits. Better than the average American, but still not great. I actually knocked this down by 0.3 by eating more locally and using more public transportation.

What's your footprint? What would you be willing to do to decrease your impact on the planet? Please share!

© Connie Hum 2009

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