Week 8

Carbon Footprint Assignment

Canadians are one of the largest Green House Gas (GHG) producers per capita and also have one of the largest personal carbon footprints worldwide. Understanding your individual carbon impacts is important; not only for realizing your individual contribution to the global climate crisis, but for also developing meaningful individual and community level carbon reduction and  management strategies.

Generally, carbon is broken down into the following four categories

  • Transportation
  • Heating and cooling homes
  • Food
  • Good and services (your stuff)
  1. Using a carbon footprint calculator, calculate your personal carbon footprint. We recommend https://www.carbonindependent.org/, but you can use a carbon footprint generator of your choice, just be sure to cite it in your report.
  2. Outline your footprint by category (energy use, travel, food, etc.) in your report and compare it to the global situation by country.
  3. What changes could you make in your daily life to reduce your carbon footprint by 5%, 10%, and 25%?
  4. Did anything about generating your personal carbon footprint surprise you? Explain.

Note 1: for calculating reductions using a 5% C02 reduction as an example, you would take your calculated footprint and figure out what 5% would be.  If your carbon footprint is 10 t CO2, then a 5% reduction would be .5 t CO2.  You will then explain how you would reduce your carbon footprint by .5 t / year.  You will then do the same for 10% and 25% reduction.  This will not be guess-work, use your carbon calculator to change some of your parameters to find the reduction.  For example, using public transport instead of driving, eating more local food, etc.

Note 2: Some of the good examples of carbon calculators studied are Carbon Footprint Ltd., Carbon Independent, and Cool Climate Network.  Carbon Independent and WWF have a broader range of actions to let you see where you can make changes (i.e. eat less meat) and the corresponding carbon reduction[1].


  1. Mulrow, J., Machaj, K., Deanes, J., & Derrible, S. (2019). The state of carbon footprint calculators: An evaluation of calculator design and user interaction features. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 18, 33-40. doi:10.1016/j.spc.2018.12.001


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Introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Copyright © by Jocelyn Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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