It’s Not Easy Being Green – Day 49

I visited this website for the first time today:  http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/  I’ve often been bothered by what I perceive as a carelessness about human impact on the environment.

I didn’t really care about it or think about it until I became a parent. Now, I feel such a responsibility to ensure my children and grandchildren can enjoy the beauty and bounty of the earth.  Image (Credit for meme to http://www.sustainable.co.za/blog/2012/12/best-green-memes-2012/)

However, I also recognize that I’m a lot of talk. The reality is humans are not harming the environment because they (we) desire to.  It is simply we value our lifestyle….our comfort….our convenience.  We choose immediate gratification over longterm preservation.

Therefore, I began considering ways I could introduce some green-friendly acts into my daily firsts.  However, recognizing my current carbon footprint and the total cost to offset it would help provide some motivation.

In this calculator, you can measure your own personal footprint or you can expand it to your household.  I did both.  Personally, my estimated greenhouse emissions are 20 tons per year which is below the American average of 27 tons per year.  However, interestingly globally it is only 5.5 tons.  Wow.  To offset my footprint, I need to donate $285 to The Nature Conservancy.

As a household, we produce 70 tons which is below the American average of a home of four – 110 tons. We would need to donate nearly $1000 to offset this. Again, globally, the world average is only 22 tons for a household of four. The bulk of our carbon footprint comes from travel.

At first comparing our numbers with the average American or American family, I wanted to pat myself on the back.  I wanted to boast of how I am living “green”, but it’s hard to do that when you consider it is four times the global average.

It seems as a nation we don’t mind using the world’s resources but we don’t want to take much responsibility for it.  I am as guilty as anyone. Weekly I buy bottled water.  I use paper towels and wash too many loads of clothing in hot water.  And why?  Because I think I’m entitled.  I’m an American.  I work hard.  Why shouldn’t I have these things?

Not to mention, I’ve often thought the idea of going “green” seemed daunting and overwhelming.  It was is if I needed to change my entire way of living or I had the idea that what I did as one person would never make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

However, the reality is change only occurs one person at a time.  It’s the little things that add up to make the difference. I can’t try to eat the entire elephant in one bite, but rather just a nibble at a time.  Therefore, you can expect some new things that involve a way to be more environmentally friendly.

But for today, I’m going to gain some perspective and understanding of my impact.  I hope you click the link and will do the same thing.

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