Your carbon footprint is the total amount of GHGs (greenhouse gases) that you emit every day. Whether you’re stuck in traffic, working at your computer, or cooking dinner for your family, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re racking up an invisible carbon debt. Because it can be tough to connect seemingly innocuous daily activities with very real consequences like pollution and a warming planet, it’s important to calculate your footprint—and then take steps to reduce it.
Most carbon calculators account for location (some states and countries rely on dirty sources of power, while others use more renewable energy), household size, home heating and electrical usage, mileage, and air travel. Once your consumption has been calculated, each reported activity is measured against its respective emissions factor to determine your footprint.
Want to learn more about carbon emissions? Download our free carbon emissions poster!
Carbon offsets are informed by the belief that reducing emissions in any area is worthwhile. They allow you to pay to reduce global GHGs to make up for some or all of your own personal emissions. And because GHGs integrate easily into the atmosphere and spread quickly around the planet, paying to reduce carbon—even if it is on another continent— is a win for the planet. One of our favorite ways to do this is by—you guessed it—planting trees. In fact, one mature tree can absorb a whopping 48 pounds of carbon a year!