A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide. You can measure your carbon footprint by using a carbon calculator which tells you how much carbon your lifestyle produces.
For instance if you plan to take a trip and you are flying economy class from JFK International airport to Los Angeles, a distance of 2,466 miles, your trip will generate about 659 lbs. of carbon dioxide. If you are making the same trip by car and you happen to drive a Toyota Prius ,which gets between 45- 48 MPG, your carbon emissions would be 1,027 lbs. In a Hummer H3 it would be 3,216 lbs.
It is easy to make these calculations at sites like Terrapass.com and Greenprogress.com. With a little information you can make simple calculations on the impact of your vacation or with a little more detail you can work out the impact of your entire annual energy consumption. Your carbon footprint is calculated based on questions such as your energy and food consumption, recycling and driving habits and more. All these factors add up to an estimated number of pounds of carbon dioxide produced by you in a year which describes your “carbon footprint“.
Once you know the impact you have on the environment you can begin the process of reducing your carbon footprint. You may choose to do this by the three R’s: Reduce, Re-use and Recycle or by buying carbon offsets which are available on-line at sites like Carbonfund.org and Terrapass.com. These sites allow you to pay for trees to be planted on your behalf or invest in alternative energy production like wind and solar power.
Some are skeptical about carbon offsets because it is like buying forgiveness for over consumption and pollution and simply planting trees does not cure the ills of burning fossil fuels. Carbontradewatch.org has a very detailed discussion of this topic in their article “The Carbon Neutral Myth”.
This summer you may choose a carbon neutral vacation rather than jet setting. You may use wind power and go sailing (like Kjell) around the Scottish Isles or go biking around the wine country in Napa with Life Cycle Adventures (ask for Tony). Or simply stay home and plant a tree, enjoy the warmer than ever weather or redecorate with furniture made from reclaimed wood.
*UrbanWoods makes furniture from reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood continues to trap carbon from years of absorbtion and does not allow the carbon to be released due to decomposition. Furthrmore Urban Woods furniture remains tree free meaning that no trees are harvested or cut in any way to make the product.