Every year, I get invited to one or two environment-focused functions on World Environment Day. This time the 'Day' became a 'triplet of Days' as 5 June, the designated date came on a Sunday. So some events were held on 4 June, some on 6 June, and some people still preferred to stick to 5 June. I have myself been part of two functions at different industries. Some of our work got highlighted by a newspaper. I saw reports of many other events and activities from different parts of the world. Most newspapers ran special features or supplements, and many environment-focused efforts got highlighted. People posted emotional messages on various social media platforms. Now it is 8 June. The annual homage has been paid, the Environment Day has been 'celebrated', its time to move on, and continue with our daily lives! Hurrah!
Every year the World Environment Day focuses on a specific environmental issue as a main theme. This year the focus was supposed to be on stopping illegal trade of wild life, but all environmental issues are linked to each other. So the events, activities, messages, etc., do not have to stick to the theme per se. In fact, if we trace back the root cause of why there is any trade in wild life, illegal or otherwise, it all comes back to us, humans, the 'wildest' (in the 'out of control' sense of the word!) of all species. Our lifestyle is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT threat to the other species on the earth today! A human is either living a highly consumption based lifestyle, or is aspiring for it! We take these little pauses like the Environment Day to do some 'introspection' and the next day we are off again!
So, how about taking some ACTION in our daily lives - an action that goes beyond the symbolism of 'celebration' of 'events'? Here is one simple action that anyone and everyone can take. Of course there are then follow up actions that also can be taken, it is really a question of how far you wish to go! In a way, this is also an introspection on the way we live and our impact on nature, however, this is a more intellectual and rational introspection rather than an emotional one. It is based on culling out some hard facts from our lifestyle, and then giving a serious thought to how to change things. It is about CALCULATING OUR PERSONAL CARBON FOOTPRINT!
Pull out a calculator, and spend some 10-15 min to calculate your own carbon footprint. The images in this blog give you the 'recipe' for this (if you want a pdf file for the same, please write to email@example.com). It is not a very complex calculation, and obviously it is not highly accurate. But it will give you a ballpark figure for your own carbon footprint. Please remember though, that in the interest of simplicity, this calculator leaves a number of contributing factors out of the calculation, so what you are getting is an UNDERESTIMATE of your carbon footprint - your personal contribution to climate change.
What do you do with the number that you end up with after you finish the calculation? Remember that climate scientists are warning us that the world should not be allowed to get warmer beyond 1.5 deg C more than what the current average temperature of the earth is. The world leaders have agreed to keep the global warming to 'well below 2 deg C' (whatever that 'well below' means!). So, if we can keep this underestimate of our carbon footprint below 1.5 deg C, we would be doing our bit to help humanity deal with climate change and its impacts. The calculator will show you some of the ways and means of doing this, but I am sure we can all come up with more ideas.
Are you interested in a slightly more detailed calculation and analysis? Through Samuchit Enviro Tech we also offer an MS EXCEL based Personal Carbon Footprint Calculator for Urban Indians, which is a bit more detailed. But this one won't come cheap! It will cost you INR 100! Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested!
I am hoping to be able to organise a Samuchit Lifestyle Workshop sometime in early July. In this 3-4 hr workshop we discuss the link between our daily lives and environment, and also do our own carbon footprinting. Connect with 'Samuchit Enviro Tech' on facebook, to know more details!
Samuchit Enviro Tech
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