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Step 1 - Carbon Footprint

How to go green prioritiesThe first step to go green is to understand your carbon footprint. Whether it's for your workplace or for you, it is important to understand how much Carbon Dioxide you are generating per year so you know what to focus on. It is very difficult to understand the impact of our reduction if we don't measure our starting point. To use an analogy of a diet, how do you know how much weight you have lost if you don't know how much your previous weight was?

The term Carbon Footprint is a combination of two terms. First, Carbon Dioxide is the by-product of emissions from our vehicles, from heating our workplaces and homes, and from other activities in our daily lives. It is the leading greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

The term Footprint refers to the impact we are having on the Earth. If the whole world lived like Americans and Canadians, we would need seven Earth-size planets to sustain our way of living... yes, seven.

By combining Carbon Dioxide with the term Footprint, we have a Carbon Footprint. This is the impact we are having on the world specific to the amount of Carbon Dioxide we are responsible for creating. Americans and Canadians pollute more per capita than most countries in the world.

You can either calcualte your carbon footprint using a calculator (e.g., Zerofootprint) or use a general profile of a typical carbon footprint as illustrated by the inverted pyramid above.

Now you're ready to start your Carbon Diet! The following 5 subject areas cover the various aspects of the typical individual's carbon footprint. They are ordered in priority order so you can tackle the most significant ones first. The first priority is Transportation.

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