We are all aware that basically everything we do or use impacts the environment in a way. However, we rarely have a clear picture of the exact numbers, generally, we have a hard time quantifying and thus visualising our emissions.
What if I tell you that your annual carbon footprint is about 7 tonnes of CO2 equivalent of a full-grown elephant. That is the average carbon footprint in Europe, but in fact, yours can be much more or much less, depending on the individual choices you make in your everyday life.
Now, you can easily measure your impact on the environment by taking this test, which calculates the CO2 emissions (expressed in kilograms) of your everyday activities helping to make more environmentally conscious decisions. The test was designed specifically for Hungarians with many informative side-notes beside every question to let you know how you can improve.
Watch your bills
The test first measures household energy consumption. As for electricity, the average consumption of a Hungarian household was 2275 kilowatts-hour (kWh) last year, while gas consumption averaged around 1088 m3.
There are two ways to cut back on your carbon footprint: using less energy and getting energy from a cleaner source. As the test highlights, unused energy has the least impact on climate but changing to entirely renewable sources can cut back on your household carbon footprint by 90 per cent. Replacing our old household appliances with more energy-efficient ones can also contribute a lot to reducing emissions.
Go for public transport
Your choice of travelling has also a big impact on your final carbon footprint as the CO2 emissions of cars per passenger-kilometre are roughly three times that of public transport. But if you are not ready to give up on your car just yet, choose an electric one, which can cut back on your carbon footprint as much as 60 per cent. The emission of public transport also varies. The best option is to take your bike, which is not only good for the Planet but also for your health. Avoid flying if possible, especially in Europe where the railway can be a more efficient and sustainable alternative.
Take a look at your plate
Bio food (officially from organic farming) has lower emissions due to lower use of chemicals and machine labour, not to mention that it’s also healthier. Eating more fruits and vegetables can also significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the food supply chain and at the same time reconnect people with food and the land in which it’s produced. Have some meat and dairy-free days in a week and try to buy your groceries at local markets.
“Do I really need this”?
We rarely think about it but our everyday extra consumption is one of the biggest items in our personal CO2 emissions, only heating and transport has a bigger impact. Little things add up and you can really take action for the Planet every day in this area.
Our big goals cannot be achieved without changing our everyday habits. Whenever you buy something that costs the environment (too) a lot, ask yourself, “Do I really need it?”