Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Year of Action

Happy New Year everyone! While 2006 was the year of the global warming wake-up call, 2007 was the ‘processing’ year – the year climate chaos made headlines and wound its way into everyday conversation.

Prepare yourself for the year of action. 2008 is the year that we collectively kick some serious butt (our own).

In order to do so we need a plan. Several months ago I calculated my carbon footprint through Zerofootprint’s Carbon Calculator. I discovered that if everyone on the planet lived like me, we would need one and a half earths to keep living the way I do. This of course is unacceptable. After reviewing my carbon footprint, I resolved to decrease it by a minimum of 10% every year, reaching a 60% reduction by 2015.

I thought I’d start the year off right by once again calculating my footprint with the target of reducing it by at least 10% when January 1, 2009 comes along.

My Footprint

Based on my home energy use, transportation and diet, I am responsible for 11.6 tonnes of carbon per year (this doesn’t even take into account 17.8 tonnes for goods & services the average Canadian is responsible for). I am actually above the Canadian national average of 9.1 according to Zerofootprint. Why? I write an environmental blog for crying out loud!

The reason I’m an environmental fat cat is because in 2007 I made five domestic round trip flights, which accounted for a whopping 6.32 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s more than half my 2007 contribution.

My New Year’s Resolution

Most of that air travel was work related. In response, I have been working with my organization to develop an environmental policy to help minimize, among other things, air travel.

In 2008, I resolve to:
· Reduce air travel by 50 percent (eliminating 3.16 tonnes) – this is actually doable
· Clean my furnace filter monthly and arrange to have the furnace cleaned (1.07 tonnes)
· Continue to save for energy efficiency retrofits and, depending on how I’m doing, arrange for an energy audit
· Purchase a worm compost in addition to the backyard compost to reduce as much of my organic waste as possible and nourish our vegetable garden (0.20 tonnes)
· Ensure that our food is 10 percent more local and organic than in 2007 (0.13 tonnes)
· Plan to grow five percent of our food in our back yard (0.01 tonnes)
· Reduce our packed food by 10% in addition to what we do now (.03 tonnes)

I am confident that I can reduce my carbon footprint by 4.6 tonnes this time next year, a change of 40 percent!

Now it’s your turn….

Carbon Calculators

How big is your footprint? Carbon calculators provide you with a ball park idea on your environmental fat-cat status. It will take about 20 minutes to do. You may want to dig out your 2007 utility bills – or base it on an average provided. After finding out your environmental impact, make a plan to reduce it by at least 10 percent next year. You may find like me you can make greater reductions.

How accurate are these calculators? I tried the UK-based DirectGov’t’s Carbon Calculator and was informed that my household is responsible for 10.75 tonnes of carbon dioxide, close enough to Zerofootprint’s results.

Both calculators are the most comprehensive that I’ve come across.

In the News

Big energy savings dwell here - After three years of construction, couple puts final touches on energy-efficient house

Beijing’s Olympic Quest: Turn Smoggy Sky Blue
Good luck.

As Earth Warms Up, Tropical Virus Moves to Italy


The Weltalter said...

We like your site and have added it to our blog roll. Our blog, My Green Element ( covers green business and marketing trends. I was hoping we could be added to your blog roll. Also, if you are interested in writing a guest post, please let me know.

Cheryl McNamara said...


Once upon a time My Green Element was linked to my blog but I changed templates and everything was erased and while I tried to remember every site my memory is a bit faulty - and blah blah blah.

That's a long-winded way of saying thanks for the reminder and my apologies. The link to your terrific My Green Element is back on my blog. I encourage everyone to check it out.

Thank you for your invitation to guest post. I have at least one idea I'd like to discuss.

Beniex said...

Hello Cheryl!

You have a very interesting blog out here. Please tell me something - I haven't foud your mail so I'll do it in the comments part - I and my collegues from the Greens in Poland and our friend are making a monthly about ecology, LGBT issues, peace, feminism and every issue that is or can by green. I was wondering if it was possible to translate some of Your post to Polish, of course with a link to your blog and your name and surname under it. Do You think that it;s possible?

If You don't want to talk about it on Your blog, here's my mail:


with best wishes
Bart Kozek

Cheryl McNamara said...

Hello Bart,

I would be honoured to have you translate some of my posts for your monthly publication. Thanks for asking.

Are you with the Green Party in Poland? I ask because I am a member of the Canadian Green Party.

It's great to hear from you. Thanks for the message and request. All the best with your publication and fighting the green fight.