Simple Green Living

Simple Green Living

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Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Calculating your carbon footprint is a worthwhile thing to do. It gives you an indication of where you can improve your lifestyle so that you can start making steps towards green living.

I drove to visit family 150km either way.If I calculated my footprint for this last weekend I fear I would have to do some serious explaining! These were my activities:

I ate out at a restaurant (sushi rules!)
I had a bbq and ate lots of meat (it was organic!)
We bought food and 500ml water bottles on the way.

So over one weekend we raised our dependence on fuel, food and left a lot of waste. Do I feel guilty? No! We live a green lifestyle for 80% of the time, and for instances like this we feel fine doing what we do.

However, calculating your carbon footprint is a worthwhile thing to do. It gives you an indication of where you can improve your lifestyle so that you can start making steps towards green living.

I went through this exercise at an online carbon footprint calculator about 18 months ago and found that if everyone were to live like we did back then, we would need to resources from 3 ½ earths to sustain ourselves.

This was one of the reasons we sought a more natural sustainable lifestyle. I recently recalculated our footprint and found that we were down to 2 earths! How encouraging this was to see that the green changes implemented were already making a difference.

So how is your footprint calculated?

carbon footprintOnline carbon footprint calculators determine the impact your daily activities have on the environment. It relates to the amount of CO2 emissions produced through our energy use, transport and the lifecycle of the products we use.

After you have gone through the questionnaire you are often given tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint. Many of these websites also have a shop where you can purchase a variety of things to help you take steps towards a green lifestyle.

Others also have carbon credit purchases, planting tree schemes and other incentives for you.

A warning though: Don’t ever think that you can plant a few trees and buy some carbon offsets and not change the way you are living. This is a shallow and pointless choice. In all these months that we have embarked on our green living, we have never planted a tree nor bought carbon offsets.

Why not? Well, quite frankly we don’t need to! Each month, in fact each day, we take steps to reduce our carbon footprint just by natural choices around our lifestyle. We are making a difference in our home and family and in our local community which has far reaching changes, more than planting a tree in Kenya does.

Who needs to buy carbon offsets? In my humble opinion those who refuse to change their lifestyles, or who have to use air transport regularly or drive long distances daily without considering some green transport changes.

Human nature will always look for a quick fix. This generation is used to instant gratification. So carbon offsets are a way to immediately fix bad lifestyle choices people have made. In other words, it is easier to spend a few bucks to appease a guilty conscience than it is to change.

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Updated: September 15, 2013 — 6:54 am

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