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January: Carbon Calculator

My start to the Earth Year Challenge.

It's the beginning of 2020 which means the Earth Year Challenge is officially upon us! I'm sharing the challenge with the wide world of the internet in hopes that it might help a few people change their lives as I try to change mine. I'm lucky enough to be well educated about the subject of global climate change, and it's my goal to spread a little change with anyone who tries this challenge with me.

January's focus is mindfulness, something I learned in yoga a few years ago. Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something (definition thanks to google). Being conscious or aware of my impact on this lovely planet I call home is where this challenge starts.

We begin with the carbon calculator. (See 'this month' tab for the details). My score was 14.60 tons of carbon dioxide produced by my lifestyle per year. According to the site I'm using, 209 trees are necessary to offset my emissions from this past year.

Apparently the US average is 358 trees, so I fall a little lower than that. Good to know! The website breaks it down for me into three categories, my personal life, my transportation, and my travels. Both personal life and transportation are far below average for me, but all my traveling takes a heavy toll on my carbon footprint. I flew a lot in 2019. I fly a lot in general because I have the opportunity to go on some amazing trips. What can I do to change that? Besides stopping flying altogether, I'll have to look into buying some carbon offsets for my flights, or going places that are a lot closer by.

What was your score? In what ways do you think you can change your life to bring that number down? For me, buying carbon offsets is an option but ideally I should stop flying so far and so often. It's something that should be at the top of my list whenever I decide to travel from now on.

The carbon calculator is a good way to start off the new year. Of course it's not perfect. It doesn't have anything to do with trash or the resources I used. But the calculator does give a good look at how much carbon dioxide my lifestyle produces, which goes directly into the atmosphere and helps the climate warm even faster. The goal is to reduce my carbon emissions by the end of the year. If you look at the rest of the challenge, December is all about reflections...and we'll be doing this calculator again to see if we made a bit of a difference!

Happy New Year! I'm excited to see what this year brings.

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