Carbon footprint conundrum

Carbon footprint conundrum would be my title.  Personal involvement is important (macro is too but not the point here), but this list points to involvements well beyond many our imaginations to implement as individuals.  Personal decisions are much harder for the top activities mentioned, and from personal contacts not much on the radar of people’s decision making.  How do you go about connecting to the things “in our own control” on these points?

According to a recent study in the journal ”Environmental Research Letters,” the four steps that most substantially shrink a person’s carbon footprint are: eating a plant-based diet, living without a car, avoiding air travel and having a smaller family.

Go car-free. Short of having one less child (which cuts the climate change impact by 120 tons of CO2 emissions per year, if you include carbon that the child’s children would emit), living without a car is the biggest step you can take. According to the EPA, the typical passenger vehicle emits around 4.7 metric tons of CO2 each year.

Take a staycation. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or New York to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to an average year’s worth of driving.

Eat less meat. People who eat more than 3.5 ounces of meat per day – a serving about the size of a deck of cards – generate 15.8 pounds of CO2 each day, vegetarians just 8.4 pounds and vegans only 6.4 pounds.

Having a smaller family.

Personal attachment to feeling like you are doing something:

Inflate your tires.   Recycle.  Adjust your thermostat. Wash in cold water.  Dry on a clothesline. Buy an Energy Star fridge.  Tune up your water heater.