It would be hard to properly figure out how to reduce my carbon footprint without even knowing what it is. So, here’s my result, at least according to one website. On Day One of my carbon “diet”, I’d classify myself as plump, but not obese. Obviously, car travel is the main culprit. It’s hard to tell much about a lifestyle from a number on a page, so let me provide a little background:
I don’t use any electricity at home. None whatsoever, except occasional batteries for a mini-TV if there’s something I don’t want to miss (and if you watch any network TV, you’ll know there isn’t much in that category these days!). Now, I do use a battery-operated PDA while at home, which I charge every few days at an internet cafe. And I also bring my laptop everywhere, often spending 6-8 hours a day plugged in somewhere or other. So when calculating my ACTUAL footprint, I’d probably have to include that secondary electricity consumption.
As for travel, I have a car, which I drive only when necessary in the city. Probably once every few days, maybe twenty miles a week. Everywhere else, my two feet do the job. However, as you can see, car travel is the single largest carbon expense listed. That’s because several times a year, I take road trips for work. On average, I calculated the distance as 1000 miles each way (2000 R/T). Given that I can’t just stop taking these trips, I figure that the fuel spent by road is still less than it would cost me to be taking an airplane and renting a car on the other end. One goal is to find a diesel car that can be converted to veggie, or eventually upgrade to a hybrid to lessen this carbon debt.
As for the rest of life, well, I shop at the thrift store and try never to buy household or personal items retail. And when I’m done with things, I try to pass them on to someone else who can use ’em. That’s my main form of recycling. I USED to recycle almost all of my waste, but my living situation right now (no kitchen) means that I eat out a lot. So waste is obviously created. Especially when eating fast food, which is a nasty habit I’ve acquired lately being always on the run. Yuck. To lessen this, I hope to construct a solar food dryer to dry fruits and carry them with me throughout the day. More tasty and earth-friendly! Also a solar oven to cook beans, veggies, and breads, which are the most yummy foods anyway, IMHO. With the money saved by doing that, I could probably afford to buy more organic and local products, too.
So there you have it. My carbon-consuming soul laid bare for the picking. How does it line up with yours? Let the diet begin!