Reflecting on your carbon footprint





30 mins


Learning Path

In this section, we will first guide you through the tools on our website, which you can use to learn about your footprint on this website. Then we will help you create a plan based on what the most effective advice for you is and teach you how to be more aware about your carbon footprint.

If you haven’t done so already, complete the carbon footprint calculator and preferences form on this website. (If you have completed this before, without a login, you will need to do it again).

TaskOnce you have completed this, you will be shown 5 pieces  of advice. Pick 2 of these, and write them down (if you do not like any of them – select 2 off the longer list found here).

Secondly, you can try and make yourself more aware about your footprint by testing yourself. Write down 2 things that you think have a high carbon footprint, and guess which has a higher footprint. Then head over to the comparisons page, and find out if you were correct. The more you do this, the more you will be aware of your carbon footprint. Knowing exactly how much carbon footprint an action releases will also help you convince yourself to take a lower carbon alternative.

The UK average for carbon dioxide emissions is 8.34 tonnes, but how much actually is this? In terms of volume, 8.34 tonnes of carbon dioxide is enough to fill a 16x16x16m cube, about the size of a house, in other words, over 4000m3. If everyone on earth emitted that much carbon dioxide per year, it would be enough to 10 million football stadiums, with a total volume of 30,000,000,000,000m3.

You can find out more about the impact of carbon dioxide on our course on climate change basics. The easiest way to visualize your carbon dioxide impact is to imagine if everyone on the world had the same lifestyle as you. For example, if you’re deciding whether of not to drive 2km or walk, perhaps consider that if everyone made the decision to drive just once, it would release 2.5 million tones of carbon dioxide. To work out a figure like this, use the comparisons tool on our website, and then multiply the answer by 7,000,000,000 (the approximate population of the world).

Task – Read our article How to reduce your carbon footprint in 5 easy steps, and select three ways, from the five, that you will try and implement. Then dedicate three days each week, where you will try and make a change in each section. Now take the advice you picked in the last section, and dedicate two days of each week to try and reduce that. If you were to follow this plan effectively, you can reduce your footprint by almost half each year.

If you find you are struggling, instead of doing 5 things each week, start with 1 per week and then each week increase by 1. Alternatively, you can encourage “eco days” at your school, where everyone at the school tries to reduce their footprint for just one day per month. If everyone in an average school did this once a month, you would save roughly 60 tones of carbon dioxide per year! If every school in the United Kingdom did this, you would save around 2 million tones.

You can also help others reflect on their footprint by becoming more aware, using the tools and articles on this website and others, and teaching them, or directing them here. Knowing more about each action will help you think about your carbon footprint before you do anything. Even if you or others are unable to follow as strict a plan as we have proposed here, if everyone just makes a small difference, it would have a huge impact.


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