USING CarbonFootprint.Com to calculate my footprint made me realize that eating in or eating out, buying second-hand clothing instead of new, or buying food that isn’t packaged (or has very little packaging), makes a real difference to my impact on the environment. No other carbon calculator that I know of takes these factors into account.
The other thing I really like about this tool is that the first thing it asks is which country I live in. This is very relevant, particularly when it comes to calculating my impact from electricity usage.
If you live in a country like Iceland, where they generate 100% of their electricity with renewables (75% from large hydro, and 25% from geothermal) your carbon footprint from electricity consumption is zero.
By contrast, if you live in a country like Poland or China, where a high percentage of electricity is generated from burning coal, your carbon footprint from your usage of electricity will probably be huge.
What can you do about it?
Other than moving to Iceland––which I am seriously considering––the best thing is to start lobbying your local government representative to support the scrapping of subsidies for the fossil fuel companies. In other words do the exact opposite of what the UK government did last week when it announced a $1 billion bail out for the UK oil industry.
The other thing we can all do, is to cut back on our own personal consumption of electricity. I’ve been keeping a monthly record of mine for the past couple of years. It’s easy. Just make a note of the number of kiloWatt hours you use each month, tot it all up, log into carbonfootprint.com and feed in your numbers. It’s free for individuals.
Finally, if you wish to, you can join me in using Twitter, Google+ and other media such as Letters to the Editor, and the comments section of online newspapers, to condemn the fossil fuel lobby for what it is – a threat to our way of life and to the survival of human civilization as we know it.