#URSustainable knows, the first step in living a more sustainable life is knowing how your behaviors and actions impact the environment. These four calculators can help you identify how your everyday choices contribute to carbon emissions and global warming. After calculating your water, food, and energy footprints, the websites provide tips to reducing your environmental impact and living a more sustainable life.
This calculator provided by National Geographic helps you estimate your water footprint. It takes into account your water use in your yard, home, diet, energy consumption, and consumer choices. According to National Geographic, “only five percent—runs through toilets, taps, and garden hoses at home. Nearly 95 percent of your water footprint is hidden in the food you eat, energy you use, products you buy, and services you rely on”. While water consumption may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to environmental impacts, water is becoming extremely scarce across the United States. The #EPA Environmental Protection Agency has stated that allocating the availability and supply of water is currently one of the biggest environmental issues in the United States and the world. Human water consumption has more than tripled in the last fifty years alone. You can use this water footprint calculator to see how you can decrease your water consumption and take a pledge to do so.
The Food Carbon Footprint Calculator is a calculator that focuses on your food choices- everything from where you buy your food, what you buy, and how it is stored in your home. This is a great tool to understand how each and every choice you make has an impact on your carbon footprint. The site also provides personalized ways to reduce your carbon footprint from your diet, which in turn, reduces climate change.
Energy consumption is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. #NationalGeographic has created a calculator that shows you how your energy consumption measures up against others. The calculator asks about energy use in your home, on the road, in the air, and utilization of renewables. By asking for your zip code, it compares your energy consumption to regional averages and national averages. Not only does the website include a calculator, it also features an “energy diet”. The energy diet provides you with a monthly task for an entire year. Each task is simple enough that it can be completed within a month, yet when combined over the course of the year, the tasks can have a huge impact on your energy consumption.
The World Wildlife Fund has created a calculator with four general categories, including food, travel, home, and stuff, providing a rough estimate of your overall carbon footprint. While this calculator isn’t very specific, it does make you realize that you can make changes in almost every aspect of your life in order to reduce your carbon footprint. The website also includes helpful tips to reduce your footprint as you complete each section of the questionnaire. Once completed, the calculator provides you with a footprint score and tips on how to reduce your impact.
Written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017