Monday, August 31, 2015

Ecofriendly Life: Beginning Baseline Measurements

The sound of crumpled up plastic brushing against the sides of the dumpster muffled out the singing birds today.  I killed the beautiful music of nature today with my weekly routine of taking out the trash.  I am living the all too familiar life of a college student too busy to care about how their choices affect the world.  It seems as if this business keeps us all trapped inside a little perfect bubble never really seeing the damaging implications of our wasteful consumerism.  As the dumpster lid slammed shut with a bang and nature returned back to normal - I vowed to myself that I will do what I can to stop disrupting its natural flow with my decisions.

Many of us have been there, living a life that we knew wasn't "green" and yet didn't really know where to start to get better.  Recycle? Take shorter showers? Replace the lightbulbs?  These are all great ideas but they all miss out on the cornerstone of the effort which is to make a difference.

How are we supposed to know how much of a difference we have made by being more environmentally friendly if we never knew how bad we were for mother earth to begin with?  This is why I decided to take my carbon footprint.

Online, there are a myriad of sites dedicated to helping you calculate your carbon foot print. I personally used the following to obtain my results:

Overall, my results revealed to me exactly what I thought - I am starting off quite wasteful.  For me this is a challenge, to go from needing 3.5 Earths to maintain my lifestyle to needing less than 1.  I did notice, however, that there are discrepancies in the different tests, so from now on I will be using these 6 to track my progress as they all measure slightly different green practices.

The main thing I want to highlight about taking this baseline test is that no matter the number you should not be ashamed to publish it.  Many companies these days refuse to post their environment friendliness rating because they feel that it would be bad press.  I would like to argue the contrary - it's good press because even though you might not have the most sustainable numbers you are realizing that and are openly making a change.  This public change might even inspire others to take on the same goal of becoming more sustainable and thus as a team make the world a better place. 

Please share your numbers, I hope you enjoy seeing where you fall within the carbon footprint spectrum.  Even if you have a very high number, don't worry  - everyone needs to start somewhere.

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