Carbon Footprint Project

Water subtotal: 80
Clothing subtotal: 105
Stuff subtotal: 75
Shelter subtotal: 40
Transportation subtotal: 70
Fun subtotal: 110
Food subtotal: 200
Total points: 680
Hectare score: 6.8

Comparison with others:
Overall, my score was much lower than those of my peers. Primarily, I think, because my family drives entirely electric cars and does not eat much meat because of my sister’s vegetarianism. Also, I walk to school most days I don’t need to use a car to get anywhere. Where I think other’s have higher scores than mine is in the food and transportation department as well as regarding food. My family has always been conscious of our carbon footprint has been taking steps to reduce it.

Ten things that affect my carbon footprint:

  • Living in a house with 2 rooms per people
  • Eating a semi significant amount of meat
  • Having a decent amount of food waste
  • Being on my computer a lot leading to a high fun total
  • Taking long showers
  • Always flushing the toilet
  • Neglecting some of my clothes
  • Buying most of my clothes brand new
  • Replacing rather than repairing things that break
  • Not using all environmentally friendly cleaners

5 things I can do in these 2 weeks:

  • Wear more of my clothing
  • Take shorter showers
  • Try to eat less meat
  • Reduce food waste as much as possible
  • Flush the toilet less often

I chose these 5 changes because I think they are the most doable during the time of this experiment. Also, these changes to my lifestyle are some that are more reliant on me rather than the lifestyle chosen by my parents. Although admittedly they were more of a help than a hindrance to making these changes.

Journal 1, Monday, October 5th
I’ve calculated my footprint and I’m impressed with having low results compared to my peers. Even so, there are still ways to improve, so I have five points. If it is possible, I would like to lower my score further, but I can see it being difficult since old habits are hard to break and a big portion of these things are out of my control.

Journal 2, Friday, October 9th
So far it has been difficult to keep with the steps I have put in place. Reminding myself and breaking my habits has been extraordinarily difficult. I do not think I will keep these habits in mind long enough to lower my score. I am making progress on wearing more of the clothes in my closet. Some things unfortunately are out of my control, my parents control my meals so sometimes eating meat is unavoidable.

Journal 3, Tuesday, October 12
Some habits I have been much better on as of late. I am improving a lot on wearing more of my clothes and flushing the toilet less. Maybe by pure coincidence, I have been eating many plant-based meals as of late using meat substitutes, although obviously thanksgiving was an unavoidable exception. Unfortunately, I have not been so aware when taking showers, taking 5-10-minute ones just as I had before. Overall, I have increased my awareness since the last journal entry.


I would not label my attempt to reduce my carbon footprint much of a success. Given the time frame, I was hesitant to take actions that would drastically reduce my carbon footprint. With that being said I had some successes along the way. I was able to wear some under-appreciated clothes and was much more conscious of my water use and flushing the toilet less. While these were minor successes, they were certain habits I did not think would be easy to break. In terms of what did not go well I was not able to reduce food waste any more than I already did regularly and was not aware enough to take shorter showers. Regarding eating less meat, I certainly did eat less than I would in a usual week but that was not thanks to my effort but rather that of my parents and the coincidence that I have a vegetarian sister for whom they must accommodate for. The biggest obstacle throughout this experiment was of course me. Most of my changes were based on habits that are not easy to break and staying aware was a constant challenge. During Thanksgiving, it was almost mandatory that I eat meat so of course, I indulged in the traditional dinner that night. Another obstacle was oddly enough the cold weather. I have more clothes suited for hot weather than those for cold, so it was difficult to incorporate variety that simply was not there. Looking ahead I do plan on continuing with these habits I have set but do not plan on making new efforts. Before this experiment, I already did a lot to reduce my footprint as confirmed by the number I initially got compared to my peers. Additionally, there are some things I just will not be able to change until I move out on my own that will remain for now. In the grand scheme of things, we as individuals are not the ones who should be making changes to reduce the effects of carbon emissions. Corporations, those who make the products we consume, are both the ablest to make decisions to reduce the increasingly severe climate crisis but are also those whose decisions will have the most impact. For these reasons, I think making individuals do these types of tests who do not necessarily have a choice is a bit of a guilt tactic for fighting climate change. Specific to me and my family we have already taken big strides to reduce our carbon footprint so changing these minor habits will not do much in terms of the global climate crisis. To summarize I had some success with the habits I set out to change during this experiment but had some larger challenges. In the end, I was the one responsible for these challenges but overall I think placing the responsibility of the climate crisis on individuals and minor habits that can be changed in the two weeks that this experiment covered is not the way forward, especially considering our age means we do not dictate some of these decisions. Those who do hold the power are the ones who should be held accountable for their decisions regarding climate change and the environment.

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