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  • Liz Webborn

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint

James Martin of The Woodland Trust is just one voice in the many that encourages us all to think about using a carbon footprint calculator. Ideally we should revisit the calculator on an annual basis to see how we are doing. And why is this?

Carbon - we’re all responsible for it. From the food we eat to the way we travel, every one of us leaves a carbon footprint trailing in our wake.

Working out the emissions associated with every aspect of our lives is difficult, but government figures suggest the average UK person is responsible for 5.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year.* If you include other factors such as overseas flights and UK consumption of imports, plus the impact of other greenhouse gases, this figure may effectively double.

Looking online you will find many examples of different Carbon Footprint Calculators. Charlotte West recently sent me the following link to the one that both she and now me too have found very user friendly.

The calculator serves as an educational tool, enlightening us about the environmental impact of our choices. By increasing awareness, we are probably more likely to make eco-conscious decisions. Moving beyond awareness, the calculator also focuses on behavioural change

How to reduce your carbon footprint

We’re all responsible for emissions, but there are things we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint too. Some key areas to think about are:

·       Energy - Becoming more energy efficient will help to reduce your footprint. Limit waste and consider switching to a supplier that provides renewable energy.

·       Food – Consider what you eat and where it comes from. Studies show that meat and dairy are the most environmentally damaging food types. Food produced in the UK is generally less carbon intensive than imported products.

·       Retail – From fashion to furniture, everything we buy generates emissions. The easiest way to reduce your emissions is to simply buy less. When you do buy, choose second-hand items or purchase from sustainable retailers.

·       Travel - Walking, cycling and public transport are all better alternatives to driving. Flying is carbon-intensive, so limiting the number of flights can really help reduce your footprint.



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