A recent NY Times article reported that very few of us actually have an accurate sense of our personal impact on global warming via the greenhouse gas emissions we directly or indirectly cause.
The average New Zealander has a carbon footprint of 10 tonnes of CO2 per year.
There are a variety of ‘calculators’ that can help you make your own assessment.
Answer the questions and you will be told your “Personal Overshoot Day”. That is, the date in the year after which your consumption habits, if matched by everyone, would outpace the Earth’s ability to sustain in that year.
Earth Overshoot Day for 2020 is estimated at August 22. In other words, for every day beyond that, given current consumption habits, we have been consuming beyond what the planet can replenish in a year. We’re mining our natural capital.
If your personal day is calculated later than August 22, you are to be commended.
I lied in my responses to see what it might take to be a model citizen … but even then I only pushed my Overshoot date to September 16! If everyone lived like me (or my ideal report), it would take 1.4 Earths to meet our annual needs.
Obviously this is not the scientific precision that allows an astronaut to safely dock at a space station, but nevertheless the ‘Overshoot’ concept does make one think about our daily effects here at Ground Zero.
If you’re looking for a more refined calculation (household or business), try this offered by NZ’s Sustainable Business Network. And if you want to go even further and have your carbon footprint to verified, organisations like Toitū Envirocare and Ekos offer independent certification.