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How to go green prioritiesWhat is a Carbon Footprint and why is it important?

Carbon Dioxide is the by-product of emissions from our vehicles, heating our homes, using electricity and from other activities in our daily lives (explained more in the 6 steps to go green). It is also 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 amount of Carbon Dioxide we are creating. Americans and Canadians pollute more per capita than most countries in the world. We have a lot of work to do.

What's My Carbon Footprint?

The first step to go green is to understand your carbon footprint. Whether it's for your or your workplace, it's 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?

To calculate your carbon footprint, you can use a calculator on the web. There are a lot of calculators available that do not work well and are focussed on selling you their carbon offset products. Zerofootprint is the best one we have found. Check out the "Sample Personal Carbon Managers" to use one. The alternaive is to use a generalization such as the chart on this page that shows you where the typical person has the most impact.

Once you understand your carbon footprint, you're ready to start your Carbon Diet! Due to the complexity of this subject, we have divided the process of how to go green into five subject areas. They are in priority order based on the typical carbon footprint so you can tackle the most significant ones first. The first priority is Transportation.

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