There are conflicting views on the subject of climate change. The varying views within the media, the constricting view of large protests or that of a stranger.

Like the term ‘climate change’, the notion of our ‘carbon footprint’ has sored to the mainstream in the past decade.

What is a carbon footprint?

The Oxford dictionary defines it as: the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.

Your carbon footprint increases anytime you intentionally (or unintentionally) use fossil fuels, driving a car is an example of intentional use, eating an exotic fruit from Malaysia is an example of unintentional use.

In 2014 the average carbon emission of a brit was 9 tonnes, this seems quite good compared to our North American counterparts who produced 20 tonnes per person that same year.

However, this number is not yet sustainable, in fact, a ‘more sustainable’ carbon footprint would be less than 2 tonnes per year.

Climate activist or not I am sure we can assume that we as individuals are fairly sustainable:

would you like to know if you are part of the British average?

This is where ‘Carbon emission calculators’ play a role. These are designed to take your daily activities and calculate how sustainable you are.

This carbon footprint calculator is designed to calculate how many ‘earths’ (natural resources) you would need to sustain your daily lifestyle.

I decided to test myself: as a Londoner, I am no novice to public transport, I recycle (the bins are quite distinguishable) and many of my lunches are store-bought sandwiches. 

I would need 2 ½ earths to sustain my lifestyle; that’s 1 ½ more than I have.

Regardless of how dire, our everyday actions impact our climate. 

How can I improve my carbon footprint?

There are several different ways we can change our carbon emissions:

1) Fly less frequently, airplanes are one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions. Aviation contributes about 2% of the world's global carbon emissions. Consider taking a train around Europe rather than flying and making sure those trips to Asia are long and fulfilling. 

2) Consider buying locally grown produce. This drastically depletes any transport emissions and helps fund the local community. 

3) Don’t buy food in bulk. Make sure to stay away from plastic-wrapped produce with ‘too many units’. Buying more than we eat can create a lot of unnecessary waste.

4) Make sure your home is insulated. This can be as simple as double glazed windows, it will help keep heat inside your homes and not waste energy.

5) Eat less meat. Unsustainable meat production keeps hundreds (if not thousands) of cows and lambs that produce methane gas (a powerful greenhouse gas) in one area. Becoming vegetarian or only eating these meats from sustainable sources can greatly impact your carbon footprint. 

Regardless of how dire, our everyday actions impact our climate, we can insight change by changing only a few aspects of our routine.



Elisa Crescenzo