I’m happy with how much I’ve reduced my carbon footprint this year. Now I’m simply in a holding pattern with my current lifestyle.
To help others reduce their carbon footprint, I’ve decided to focus on just one topic on the blog moving forward.
The Numbers: My June 2020 Carbon Footprint in Detail
Note: These numbers are all estimates. Take them with a large grain of salt.
- June 2020 total: 648.14 lbs CO2e
- Year-to-date total: 6,439.84 lbs CO2e
- Remaining 2020 carbon budget of 10-ton allotment: 13,560.16 lbs CO2e
- Adjusted per-month allotment: 2,260.03 lbs CO2e
- Adjusted per-diem allotment: 73.7 lbs CO2e
- Driving: 73.7 lbs CO2e
- Electricity: 0 lbs CO2e (thanks to our renewable energy contract!)
- Water: 132.22 lbs CO2e
- Natural gas: 3.89 lbs CO2e
- Food: 350 lbs CO2e
Goods, Services, & Leisure (13.6%)
- Furniture & appliances: 3.89 lbs CO2e
- Personal care & cleaning: 10 lbs CO2e
- Bike parts: 20 lbs CO2e (I used the “Auto Parts” category in the CoolClimate Calculator)
- Information & communication: 14.44 lbs CO2e
- Other services (e.g. car insurance, haircut): 40 lbs CO2e
The CoolClimate Calculator’s emissions factors appear to have been reduced for various categories in the Shopping tab.
I say this because it seems similar spending levels to last month for a given shopping category resulted in fewer calculated emissions. Hooray for systemic change making it easier for us all to live sustainably!
Successes: What Went Well & Why
- June was another record-low month. In addition to keeping up new lifestyle habits such as biking and eating plant-based, I didn’t spend too much money this month. Turns out, living frugally and reducing your carbon footprint go hand-in-hand.
Challenges: What Didn’t Go Well & Why
- There is real social cost to reducing your carbon footprint. Driving and flying less are two of the most impactful things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. In practice, this means seeing your friends and family less if they live far away. Dealing with this trade-off is a constant struggle for me.
My New Focus
The main contributors to an individual’s carbon footprint in the US are “cars, coal, cows, and consumption.”
In other words, transportation, energy, food, and goods and services.
Those categories are quite disparate from a content standpoint.
To help people reduce their transportation footprint, I’d need to write about EVs and biking.
To help people reduce their food footprint, I’d need to write about plant-based diets.
To help people reduce their consumption footprint, I’d need to write about frugality and minimalism.
You get the point.
I can’t be an expert on all those topics. Writing about all of them at once is a recipe for subpar, unhelpful articles.
So, moving forward with this blog, I’ve decided to focus my attention on one category — energy — and just one subtopic within that category:
DIY solar power.
Because, first and foremost, solar power can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint — regardless of what drew them to it. Spreading the good word about solar energy will help me fulfill my personal mission to do whatever small part I can to help mitigate climate change.
There’s also A LOT to talk about with DIY solar. I don’t see myself running out of things to write about anytime soon! That’s helpful from a blogging standpoint.
Lastly, DIY solar projects are just plain fun. 😊
Accordingly, I won’t publish monthly updates on my carbon footprint anymore. I’ll switch to quarterly updates for the rest of the year to give myself more time to learn and write about DIY solar.
Here comes the sun! 🌞