Thursday, August 4, 2011

Carbon Footprint

Tim and I calculated our carbon footprint recently and came out with these results:
Some interesting points to notice right away:
  • Our biggest chunk of footprint comes from transportation: driving and flying, which is completely true.  As much we love doing the most we can for the environment, we still drive to work everyday instead of taking the bus because it's cheaper for us to put gas in the Prius as opposed to me buying a bus pass (Tim gets one for free but I no longer do because of cutbacks at work).  We keep meaning to go back to bus riding, but driving has gotten so convient we've become slaves to the wheel.  It's definitely something in our near future though, as soon as they beginning tolling both 520 and 90. 
  • Another part of our transportation footprint is flying.  In fact, it was by far the biggest chunk of our footprint- we add an estimated 9.8 tons of carbon emissions each year with our travels. We fly all the time.  It's a sickness really; we're addicted to the airport and use most of our extra spending money to take vacations.  I always knew that flying was bad for the environment, but I never quite realized how much of an impact it made until I saw a sign in Europe charting the CO2 emissions between airplanes, cars, and trains (hint, airplanes put out waaaaaaay more emissions than cars or trains, and trains barely do at all!  In fact, taking the train instead of flying can cut down emissions as much as 70-90%).  However, for us, taking trips is not something we're willing to give up.  We've made a point to eliminate or start to reduce emissions in almost every other aspect of the questionnaire, so we're still feeling pretty good about our number.  At least this year we don't plan on doing any more flying!  
  • While our transportation numbers are high, we were able to bring our numbers down drastically because of our diet.  The fact that we're vegans (Tim's not completely vegan but he eats 99% vegan in our house, so I just decided to count it) knocked off 6.3 big ones for us, and our mostly organic diet cut out another .5 points.  6.8 tons of CO2 emissions eliminated for our diet?  We'll take it!  It almost offsets our airplane consumption. 
  • Another area we could probably cut down on is our home energy.  It currently accounts for 25% of our emissions, and while I don't think it's very high, there's always room for improvement.  Tim and I are already working on a guest post by him talking about some energy improvements he's been scheming up.
As you can see, our footprint is less than half of the nation's average, but it's almost about double the world's average.  I'm curious what more of my family and friend's emissions are; it's kind of hard to compare your number just to yourself and the world!

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