Lifestyle Planet

How big is your environmental footprint?

Have you ever wondered what is your carbon footprint?

Since I started my journey to be climate positive, it is a question that comes to my mind very often.
Basically, your carbon footprint is all you use/consume that has certain carbon emissions associated with it.
The total of all those things is your carbon footprint which we should measure over time in order to mitigate the negative effects.

Ok, Let’s start with those carbon calculators!
(I have to admit that many times when taking the tests form the carbon calculators I have stopped answering the questions simply because I wanted to be ignorant about my negative impact.)
If I want to be climate positive, I need to get real!
First, I need to assess the current situation where I am. Second, I need to get clear on my goal. Third, create an action plan and make up some solutions.

Ok, first things first. My assessment:
Here are the calculators that I’m going to use to measure my carbon emissions of 2018:

Terrapass (with no dietary choices but it allows to enter several flights):
Conservation.org
Carbon footprint (good for household calculation)
WWF (overall results)
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) calculator (specific for travelling)

After a couple of hours, trying different calculators, I decided to split the measurement by living (Goods and services, household, transportation) and travelling (yes, I like to travel).

If you don’t want to get into details, I think WWF is the closest one to my results and also the easiest one to use.

Time to dig into my results!

Below is the snapshot from WWF calculator.
I got 19.2 tons which is equivalent to 20 Medium long hauls, or 10 small cars!

Living: 16.7 tons of CO2 per year

Goods and services: 7.37 tons of CO2 per year

I have used the Secondary carbon footprint calculator from carbonfootprint.com.
It considered the amount of money I pay for the following items and calculated the impact based on my spending.

Food and drink products: 5.10 tons
Pharmaceuticals
Clothes, textiles and shoes: 0.10 Tons
Paper based products (e.g. books, magazines, newspapers)
Computers and IT equipment: 0.09 tons
Television, radio and phone (equipment): 0.07 tons
Motor vehicles (not including fuel costs)
Furniture and other manufactured goods: 0.15 tons
Hotels, restaurants, and pubs etc: 0.62 tons
Telephone, mobile/cell phone call costs
Banking and finance (mortgage and loan interest payments)
Insurance: 0.06 tons
Education: 0.30 tons
Recreational, cultural and sporting activities 0.87 tons

*Usually, most of the calculators estimate automatically for each person 4 tons of carbon dioxide to cover Goods & Services, e.g. clothing, furniture, appliances, entertainment, personal care, health care and education.

Household: 9.19 tons

Conservation.org calculator considered the following variables for the calculation:

Country.
Number of residents.
Size of housing.
Type of house.
Clean energy.
Recycling system.
Dietary choices.

Local Annual emissions are from Sweden

Transportation: 0.14 tons

I mostly use Bus/Subway/Metro

Traveling 3.5 tons.

I have used for this purpose The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) calculator. Perhaps, the most accurate one for traveling.

Personal: 3.5 tons

The flights that I took in 2018 sum up 3.5 tons
1. Stockholm, Sweden to Manizales, Colombia: 1350.3 kg
2. Stockholm, Sweden to London, UK: 259.6 kg
3. Stockholm, Sweden to Amsterdam, Netherlands 236.2 kg
4. Stockholm, Sweden to Manizales, Colombia: 1350.3 kg

Total 3196.4 kg, which is equal to 3.5 tons

Business trips: 2.5 tons

These are offset by the company, so I don’t consider them in my personal footprint.
1. Stockholm, Sweden to Santiago, Chile: 822 kg
2. Santiago, Chile to Curitiba, Brazil: 243.5
3. Curitiba, Brazil to Stockholm, Sweden: 682.5
4. Stockholm, Sweden to Munich, Germany: 262.6 kg
5. Stockholm, Sweden to Munich, Germany: 262.6 kg

Total 2272.2 kg, which is equal to 2.5 tons

Here is an example of one of my intercontinental flights:

In total my carbon footprint for 2018 was 20.2 tons of CO2.
The biggest part came from my household carbon even though I have clean energy, a good recycling system in place and mostly a plant based diet.

Before taking the tests, I thought that my biggest impact was in travelling, however, the results showed clearly that my biggest impact is in housing and goods and services.

What can I learn from my results?

Even though this is a rough estimate, it helps me to make an analysis of my consumption and where I am spending my money the most.
It’s worth to highlight that Sweden is a high cost country and most of the things you use/consume are very expensive here.

In goods and services the items with bigger impact in 2018 were:

5.10 tons for Food and Drink, mostly grocery shopping and organic food.
0.87 tons for Recreational, cultural and sporting activities for my triathlon training.
0.62 tons for Hotels, restaurants, and pubs, etc. for having a social life.

In Housing, it’s important to recognize that even having eco-friendly solutions for my house, such as clean energy, and recycling system in place, we will always have a negative footprint. Now the question is, how can I go further to shrink my impact?

Traveling, 3.5 tons. I do understand that traveling has a negative impact on the planet, but I also believe that we should be able to explore and to live in abundance. Could be this a calling to rethink and improve the transportation modes?
All in all, I compare much worse than the world average and the UK citizen, which means that there is a lot of work ahead for me on 2019.

To cancel out the negative effects of carbon emission, individuals and businesses can purchase carbon offsets. It’s not a perfect solution (this is a long-term solution that does nothing to lessen the immediate impact of your travel), but it can help you feel better and support worthy programs.

I usually offset my carbon on a monthly basis. I know it is not the perfect solution, it is what I have at hand to mitigate my impact.
(later on, I will share some platforms to offset your carbon)

To shrink our carbon footprint in 2019, you and I can:

  • Change our diet
  • Use our purchase power
  • Buy seasonal
  • Support clean energy
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Cut down on meat
  • Travel smart
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Get the house in order
  • Buy forest-friendly
  • Fly less
  • Know climate facts
  • Be Kind with all kinds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are my original results:

Terrapass: 14.29 tons

Conservation.org: 15.67 tons


WWF: 19.2 tons

 

 

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