I work hard in my day-to-day life to reduce my environmental impact in all kinds of ways, and I think for more people it’s becoming a bigger consideration. The problem, in my opinion, is that they don’t realise their environmental impact: what does it mean, and how can I reduce it?
A simple first step which I have found really insightful is finding out my carbon footprint. There are lots of different websites that you can use, but WWF’s Footprint Calculator is one I’ve tried and tested. It’s a short questionnaire which takes only a few minutes to answer, which asks you about the following areas of your lifestyle: Food, Travel, Home and Stuff.
The results of the questionnaire detail your carbon footprint as a % against the UK’s 2020 target. For example, my result was 106%, meaning that if everyone in the UK lived like me, we would be 6% over the set target, meaning more improvements need to be made. It then breaks up your footprint as a % for each of the lifestyle categories: my highest category was travel at 72%, which obviously meant my other categories were fairly low as a result but indicates a lot of changes to be made here. It also compares your footprint to the UK average and world average, which is interesting to see, along with giving tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint.
Overall I think, although very simplified (which has both pros and cons), that this kind of insight is useful. It’s easy to think that you’re environmentally friendly because you recycle and switch off your lights, but what about all the travelling you do in your car, or how much meat you consume a week? This result allows people to see their own areas of improvement, with useful and easy tips to reduce their carbon footprint.