By now, you probably know about the devastating effects of global warming on our planet’s climate and ecosystem. Getting familiar with your own current carbon footprint is the best place to begin.
To create a tangible impact, you need to take your know-how a step further by understanding your personal carbon emissions. And although this might seem complex, calculating your carbon footprint in the modern era of digital technology is pretty simple.
Using a Carbon Footprint Calculator
The simplest way to figure your emissions footprint is by using an online carbon calculator and all you need is an internet connection.
Choose a reputable source, to ensure a higher degree of accuracy and reliability compared to others. The following are some good options:
The EPA Carbon Foot Print Calculator: The US government developed this calculator that uses an excel program. It’s suitable for US citizens since it has tailored computations to the state level (EPA, 2021). It estimates your carbon footprint by looking at three areas of your life: energy consumption, transport, and waste. Drawback: there’s a lot to know and fill out before you can get your total.
BBC Climate Change Food Calculator: The BBC, a British News Outlet, developed this application for anyone. However, it only computes your footprint stemming from food consumption (Nassos, Clara, & Helen, 2019). Drawbacks: You’ll need to use it alongside other calculators that compute emissions from your other sources.
8 Billion Trees Emissions Calculator: This user friendly model can be used by anyone, and factors in location, food, waste, transportation, energy, and other household activities, offering a complete look at your emissions. Drawbacks: Some choices are limited while they continue to build and refine it.
The Scientific Method
Another way to learn your carbon footprint is by using the long, scientific method.
This process involves first identifying your carbon emission producing activities. Then you need to find and apply relevant scientific equations to each emission activity to see its exact impact. Finally, sum up all your emissions to get your carbon footprint.
This method is long and complex, although very accurate and reliable, but a reputable footprint calculator will have already done this. In fact, many carbon footprint calculators do precisely what the scientific method requires, only faster.
Why Calculate Emissions?
Ever heard “knowledge is power.” By understanding and identifying the actions that cause emissions and contribute to your carbon footprint, you can begin to lower it. Even small changes, like using a clothesline to dry some clothes, or carrying a reusable shopping bag the next time you plan to run some errands can have an impact.
With everyone working together to reduce emissions, our carbon footprints can start to decrease, and we can help become part of the climate solution, rather than the problem.
Works Cited: EPA. (2021). Carbon Foot Print Calculator. Retrieved September 20, 2021, from United States Environmental Protection Agency: https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/ Nassos, S., Clara, G., & Helen, B. (2019). Climate change food calculator: What’s your diet’s carbon footprint? Retrieved September 20, 2021, from BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46459714 Photography by Annie Spratt