If you’ve ever asked the question “What is my carbon footprint?” then this is the place to find out.
Do you know what your carbon footprint is? My guess is no. We know the statistics, we see figures bandied about in The Guardian and know that we are trashing the planet. We try to make good choices such as cutting down on plastic usage, but we don’t know how much good that does our world.
What if I told you there was a website that could estimate your carbon footprint? The WWF footprint calculator does exactly that. Developed with the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York and the University of Leeds, the WWF have created an easy way to estimate your carbon emissions. I took a short quiz about my lifestyle and I was told what percentage of my fair share of carbon emissions I was using.
What is my carbon footprint?
According to the WWF footprint calculator, my carbon footprint is 101% of my fair share. It was 94% the first time, then I remembered I’d bought a new laptop and a phone this year. That alone pushed me over the edge! Shockingly, although I was well below the UK average for carbon emissions, I was still much higher than the global average.
One of my goals this year is to reduce my impact on the planet. I’d love to take the test at the end of this year to see a score of 75% or less! The results page tell me that the place I can make the biggest cut in transport. This isn’t a surprise to me: we’ve just got a car and I use taxis more than I like to. I like that they give everyone a personalised breakdown of their own emissions.
How to find out your carbon footprint
Finding out your carbon footprint estimate couldn’t be easier: go to the WWF footprint calculator website and take the quiz. It’s less than 5 minutes long and asks you questions about your lifestyle: what food you eat, the things you buy, how you heat your home and so on.
That’s it! The WWF gives you a carbon footprint estimate straight away. Are you as shocked as I was?
What can you do about it?
If, like me, your carbon footprint was a bit higher than you expected, don’t despair. I’ve written before about steps you can take to fight climate change, but here are my top 3:
Power your home with renewables. Whether you switch to a green energy supplier such as Good Energy (which is who I’m with) or you put solar panels up, making sure your home isn’t powered by fossil fuels is one of the quickest and easiest ways to bring your carbon emissions down. In my experience, having a renewable supplier costs around the same as I was paying one of the “big six”.
Watch what you eat. Growing and transporting enough food to sustain a whole human takes a lot of energy, some food types more than others. Cut your carbon emissions by cutting down your consumption of meat, dairy and eggs and prioritising food that is locally sourced and in season. If you want to go even further, grow your own or go foraging!
Travel wisely. Flights are a big no-no for our planet. If you must travel long distances, try for ferry or train. For more local travel, use your feet first and foremost, followed by public transport!
What was your carbon footprint estimate? Let me know in the comments!