As an environmental communicator, I have always been conscious of my own impact to the earth. I try to reduce the waste I generate and manage my waste ecologically. I am a conscious buyer and green foodie, a vegetarian for more than a decade. When I became a climate presenter, I became more aware of my impact to the climate, no matter how small.
One way of measuring one’s impact to the environment, specifically climate, is by computing one’s carbon footprint. Wikipedia defines carbon footprint as “the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person. It is actually impossible to accurately compute one’s carbon footprint, but there are available calculators that compute a set of variables to approximate one’s GHG emissions.
I’ve been looking for carbon footprint calculators but all I find have factors that are not applicable to the Philippine setting. You could imagine my surprise when I found one nicely tuck in one of the inner pages of our very own Climate Change Commission website. If it was my call, I’d put the carbon calculator on the home page and make it attractive enough so people would be encouraged to compute their carbon footprint.
I downloaded the pdf file and computed with the help of my trusty old cellphone. Here is how I fared:
- I do not use incandescent bulbs; it’s all CFL at home.
- I do not use air-conditioning at all, I don’t have one at home! Talk about the fringe benefit of being poor.
- I do not take showers; we use pail and dipper
- I do not use hot water for baths, except when I’m staying in a hotel, which is very seldom.
- Well, I do sometimes leave appliances plugged in. This is something I have to work on (+ 97o)
- Yes, I use CFLs (- 300)
- No, I do not use a microwave (-55)
- I do cook using a gas oven, not an electric one (-330)
- I, sadly, do not have rainwater catchment, I’m renting
- I’m very conscious of buying, I do grocery shopping only twice a month, and if possible, I buy in bulk thus less plastic. I also bring a reusable bag and I bring my own water bottle, thus lessening the need to buy bottled drinks.
- I rarely eat out or eat pre-packaged food. As a vegetarian, I prefer fresh produce from the market and cooked at home.
- Whenever I need to print, I do print two-sided, but I prefer going paperless, thanks to available technology.
- Yes, about 90% of my food comes from, ironically named, Carbon Market, where I buy veggies coming from nearby towns and barangays. (-5000)
- I do recycle, I segregate my waste, and I do household composting. Since January of this year, I got to throw only three medium-sized garbage bags of residual waste, and that is only because the kids have a long way to go in internalizing waste management at home. (-750)
- I do not own a car. I take a taxi once in a while. Well, ok, I fly several times a year, so no points here.
- I do not speed.
- I do carpool when possible, my friends are very gracious in letting me hitch in their cars.
- No car, no maintenance.
- No fuel to use, of course.
- Yup, I do take public transport. But mostly, I walk. (-2000)
Only a few points to go to be Carbon Indifferent. That’s my carbon goal. Thanks to the Climate Change Commission for this, although I would have wanted an auto calculator as Math is not one of my strongest points.
Bonus carbon offsets:
- I planted several trees already, not just one. I want to plant more! (-300)
- I do not use wind turbine. How I wish we have it here in Cebu.
- I’d love to go solar, but no means just yet.
- I do not have a green roof.
- I’d like to establish a community garden, when and where is the question.
- I don’t eat meat, I’m a vegetarian! (-3924)
My carbon footprint: -11,689 = Carbon Cutter! I only need to reduce a few more points to be Carbon Indifferent. Working on it! How about you, what’s your carbon footprint?