This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reader Request: What is a Carbon Footprint?

I received an excellent question recently from my friend Debbie, she wanted to know what is meant by a "carbon footprint."  Lately I see the term used in a lot of different ways, some more relevant than others, but what I mean when I say carbon footprint is the amount of energy you use existing on this planet.  Do you have a big footprint?  Do you consume a lot of packaged goods, using a new bag to bring them home every time?  Do you circle the parking lot for 10 minutes looking for a "good spot" rather than parking and walking a little farther?  Do you leave on lights, computers, TVs, radios, and stereos even when you're not in the room using them?  Do you have a bunch of chargers plugged into the wall that aren't charging anything?  Do you create a lot of waste by buying but not recycling packaged goods?  If you are nodding yes to all these things then the cost of keeping you on this planet is pretty high because tremendous amounts of energy must be used to support your lifestyle and most of the energy created in the U.S. has a lot of toxic byproducts.

On the other hand perhaps you have a small footprint.  Perhaps you are reducing, reusing, and recyling everything you can.  Perhaps you are walking more and driving less, when possible.  Even walking on a track or outside is preferable to using an electric treadmill.  Right now it is still cold and rainy where I live.  This morning I spent 37 minutes on an electric elliptical machine so I'm certainly not living off the grid.  I did, however, rescue 4 earthworms that would have been stranded on my driveway...

Unplug, turn off, reuse, recycle.  Any little change and every little change makes a difference.  I wear a size 8 shoe, but I try to have a tiny footprint.

1 comment:

deb said...

Thanks for the explanation. That's what I was thinking- you've simplified it for me. I too was hearing (over)used and was starting to doubt my understanding of it...thank you.