So what is a carbon footprint? According to Wikipedia a carbon footprint is a "measure of the impact that human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide".
It is used so that individuals, companies and nations can conceptualise their carbon dioxide contribution from the burning of fossil fuels which has been proven to contribute to Climate Change.
So, now that you understand the concept, how do you measure it? There are many carbon calculators that can help you determine whether your lifestyle has a large carbon footprint or a small sustainable one. The site CarbonFootprint.com has a good calculator that is fairly simple to use if you want to work out your own impact. I worked out my family of five’s footprint and it works out to be about 3.5 tonnes of CO2e per year.
Australians on average each have a carbon footprint of 14 – 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) depending on what source you use. That makes us the highest emitters of CO2e per capita in the world. That is a bad thing, but by reducing our emissions and therefore the impact to the planet, we can help avert runaway climate change.
The video below will give you a few tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint. It is from the U.S. so it talks about pounds of CO2e instead of kilograms and tonnes. Just remember that a kilogram is 2.2 pounds. The video is from howcast.com (thanks Marina)
Over the next week, I will write a post each day about ways I have reduced my carbon footprint from being a massive emitter before my green epiphany, to a dark green, low carbon emitting, planet loving, sustainable living, every day sort of bloke.
Tomorrow is a post about food, and how I reduced my carbon footprint in this area with a few simple behavioural changes.
Keep an eye on the official Zero Footprint Week website for more tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint during the week.
It is going to be an educational kind of week!