My April 2020 Carbon Footprint

April was another record-low month since I started tracking my carbon footprint.

Let’s look at how it happened.

The Numbers: My April 2020 Carbon Footprint in Detail

Note: These numbers are all estimates. Take them with a large grain of salt.

Total

A screenshot from YNAB, a financial budgeting software I’m repurposing to track my carbon footprint.
  • April 2020 total: 818.99 lbs CO2e
  • Year-todate total: 4,962.6 lbs CO2e

Remaining

I have a little over 7.5 tons remaining of my 10-ton carbon budget for 2020.
  • Remaining 2020 carbon budget of 10-ton allotment: 15,037.4 lbs CO2e
  • Adjusted per-month allotment: 1,879.68 lbs CO2e
  • Adjusted per-diem allotment: 61.38 lbs CO2e

By Category

Transportation (5.2%)

  • Driving: 42.48 lbs CO2e

Housing (23.7%)

  • Electricity: 0 lbs CO2e
  • Water: 168.89 lbs CO2e
  • Natural gas: 25.56 lbs CO2e

Food (37.9%)

  • Food: 310.4 lbs CO2e

Goods, Services, & Leisure (33.2%)

  • Furniture & appliances: 180 lbs CO2e
  • Information & communication: 33.33 lbs CO2e
  • Other services (e.g. car insurance, gym membership): 58.33 lbs CO2e

Analysis

Most of my carbon savings this month relative to March came from reduced transportation emissions. I biked even more and drove even less.

I’ve settled into my new diet. It’s like the Flexitarian or Mediterranean diet. I eat mostly plant-based with occasional animal products and other high-carbon foods such as dark chocolate. It’s far from draconian. I find it perfectly enjoyable.

It seems with my current diet, I ‘spend’ on average about 10 lbs of CO2e on food each day. I’m happy with that.

One big ticket item this month was a pull-up bar I built. I wanted a way to stay somewhat fit while being stuck at home during quarantine.

It cost about $150 for what I had to buy to make it — lumber, other materials, and some tools I didn’t have. According to the CoolClimate Calculator it ended up totaling about 180 lbs of CO2e. Quite a splurge! But I’m happy to have it.

Successes: What Went Well & Why

The successes this month were mostly continuations of successes from previous months.

  • I drove just ~45 miles for the ENTIRE MONTH. That’s at least one good thing about quarantine!
  • I replaced more and more car trips with bike trips. My friends’ house, the grocery store, the hardware store — slowly more and more of my outings are becoming bikes trips.
  • I kept eating a mostly plant-based diet. In fact, I even replaced a couple ‘celebratory’ meals (where I usually eat meat) with vegan meals. For instance, for Earth Day I invited some friends over and made these delicious vegan tacos. 🤤

Challenges: What Didn’t Go Well & Why

  • Tracking food emissions became even more tedious. Keeping track of everything I eat and calculating its emissions is boring and time-consuming. It’s become so rote that some days I forget to do it entirely and have to go back and try to remember what I ate days ago.
  • Buying used is proving a difficult habit to build. I reflexively bought the lumber and tools needed for my pull-up bar without looking for used options. Going to the store or shopping online are such ingrained habits. It’s been a challenge simply to remember to first try to find what I need used.

Takeaways

This month I was reminded that any sustained lifestyle change eventually becomes habit.

I’m at that point with a lot of the changes I made in January to lower my carbon footprint, like biking and eating mostly plant-based.

To be frank, I’ve now become a bit bored of thinking about certain aspects of carbon budgeting. There are only so many times I want to talk about how much I’m now biking.

Ultimately, I see that as a good thing — it means reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t require endless effort. Take the time and do the work to make the necessary lifestyle changes, continue with them until they become habits, then move on to more interesting things.

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Alex Beale
Alex Beale
Hi, I'm Alex. I started Footprint Hero to help people reduce their environmental impact. My current obsession is DIY solar power projects, which I've been building since 2020.
Alex Beale

Alex Beale

Hi, I'm Alex. I started Footprint Hero to help people reduce their environmental impact. My current obsession is DIY solar power projects, which I've been building since 2020.

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