Happy New Year and best of wishes, especially for good health, to you all, for 2022.
It is that time of year of annual reckoning for Lucy and Catherine with our carbon emissions. We have been discussing the impact our blog has had on us personally and we agree that it is hard to make lasting changes in one’s lifestyle so as to reduce our carbon footprint. It is hard to live more simply, it is hard to give things up, and we humans are such creatures of habit, so it is hard to change. WE are the ones blogging about protecting life on Mother Earth with our Friends4trees4life blog, so if it is hard for us to be gentler on Mother Earth, it is also likely hard for each and every one!!!! Reflecting on past goals set, it feels like we go two steps forward and one step back. For example, Lucy planned to increase insulation in the house, and only made minimal changes this year in this regard. Catherine planned to reduce heat loss/energy use by installing new windows in the house and is still waiting, months later, for the order to be fulfilled, now most likely into 2022. There are factors that limit one’s success, like having others in the household on board, the type of energy sources available in one’s province, the type of city one lives in, unpredictable supply chain challenges beyond our control, and one’s willingness/capacity to alter a privileged lifestyle, or even costs. Undoubtedly continuing to pay attention to one’s daily habits is an important first step in finding even small ways to improve and be more mindful about the impact of our choices. We believe we are all really good with some of our earthly habits, and not so good with others. That’s human nature. And, as we stated last year, no one can do everything, but every one can do something. Clean air, fewer storms, reduced waste, more gratitude, and a simpler less-stressed lifestyle are some of the benefits we, our children and their children will realize from all our collective efforts.
CLIMATE HERO CARBON CALCULATOR
Lucy’s Climate Hero Calculation
One way to plan for reducing personal carbon emissions is to use one of the many carbon calculators that are easy to find online. For this New Year 2022 Lucy tried a different carbon calculator that she really liked, and it is called Climate Hero (https://climatehero.me/ ). It was very thorough without requiring the annoying task of digging up of energy statements, and it offered lots of suggestions for improvement including some that she had never considered before. The Carbon Hero calculator indicates how much each change can reduce one’s carbon footprint. This is the third New Years that Lucy is calculating her carbon footprint, and she can see her score improving. It appears that by selling a second property, removing beef from the diet, buying only things that are needed, putting in only LED lights, hanging clothes to dry half the time, driving less, growing a vegetable garden, putting in water efficient toilets, giving home made, consumable or vintage gifts, among other things, that she has been able to make a difference in her carbon emissions for sure. It seems every little bit counts towards lowering one’s footprint by 0.1 or 0.2 tons of carbon/year.
Lucy’s carbon footprint was about 11.5 two years ago, and now, most recently with the addition of an electric vehicle, her carbon footprint is at 8.0 tons of carbon/year. This has moved Lucy out of the “Climate Villain” category into the “Climate Consumer” category, but there is still a ways to go towards becoming a “Climate Friend” or a “Climate Hero”. It is progress. Lucy’s aim was to reduce her footprint about 8% a year and she has surpassed that for sure, as she is about a year ahead of schedule. That is good as it is getting harder all the time to find ways to make a difference, and of course the easiest things have been done first.
This coming year Lucy set these goals:
- Reduce energy loss by sealing windows in the house in winter
- Greatly reduce dairy consumption
- Get energy efficient kitchen appliances (done)
- purchase an electric vehicle (done)
The Carbon Hero calculator also made many suggestions (promises) for Lucy and here are the ones she chose, that she saw as doable this year:
Catherine’s Climate Hero Calculation
Inspired by Lucy, her personal “Carbon Hero,” Catherine followed suit, and calculated her carbon footprint also using Carbon Hero. She has a carbon footprint before promises of 6.7 tons CO2 per year, joining Lucy in the “Climate Consumer” category.
The suggestions (promises) that Catherine is adopting, subject to research and family agreement about replacing one of our aging cars with an e-vehicle/hybrid, in order to reduce her carbon footprint to 4.8 tons CO2 per year are:
- Change one medium-haul flight to a car/train/bus/ferry ride (-0.4 tons)
- Replace your car with a green vehicle (-0.6 tons)
- Eat more vegetarian food (-0.2 tons)
- Fight food waste (-0.2 tons)
- Shop less (-0.3 tons)
- Adopt circular shopping habits (-0.2 tons).
The calculator also reports that carbon offsets of $11 per month would be sufficient to reduce her carbon footprint of 4.8 tons CO2 per year to zero. Achieving a zero carbon footprint, even for one year, is something that would be very meaningful and further motivating for Catherine. She is committing to purchasing carbon offsets via donations totalling at least $132 in 2022 ($11 x 12 months) to Canadian tree planting groups such as Tree Canada and One Tree Planted.
EARTH HERO CARBON CALCULATOR APP
If you prefer to have an APP on your phone to track your emissions, there are several to choose from. Lucy downloaded for free EARTH HERO. Like many calculators it allows you to track your emissions over time, set goals, suggests reading materials, and this one gives you Earth Points! Who doesn’t want Earth Points? I somehow find this one has almost too much detail for me, and I find I prefer to use my computer rather than my phone to track my progress, but I imagine many people would prefer this app. Below is a link to a list of best phone apps for tracking your climate footprint.
Offsetting Carbon Footprint
The Climate Hero calculator offers a means for you to contribute money to offset your carbon footprint. The projects it supports are found all around the world, not Canada. Lucy and Catherine are not choosing this option, but rather donate money towards planting trees through, for example, One Tree Planted or Tree Canada to offset their carbon from air travel.
Do You Strive to Be a Climate Friend or a Climate Hero?
We encourage you to consider looking into your carbon footprint, and consider making one or more improvements. Maybe you might want to follow Lucy in choosing to be one of the pioneers in the Electric Vehicle world. Let’s make this world more habitable together.