Carbon Neutral

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The recent heatwave and the lack of sleep that accompanied it has made me think a lot more about global warming. This isn’t something that has just come to me, I have been a keen recycler for about a decade and more recently I have been doing my bit in other ways, such as regularly donating to Friends Of the Earth and writing to my MP on various topics (admittedly they are usually the ones that FOE ask me to). But this heatwave has made me panic a little.

As I said, I’ve been recycling paper, tins and bottles for around 10 years now, sometimes plastic as well although that depends on the area I’m living in. I don’t have a car and in fact I cycle to work which means I’m not adding to pollution either through cars or the electricity running the tube. But there is a lot more that I can do, and I have decided to find out what else I can do to help me become carbon neutral.

Being Carbon Neutral is where your daily life doesn’t cause the emission of any carbon dioxide. Now you might think that this is easy to do, I don’t have a car so there is no CO2 being emitted there so all I need to do is buy green electricity and get rid of my gas supply. Well I could do both of those things (and I will certainly be buying green electricity soon) but they still wouldn’t make me carbon neutral. You see to do that everything you buy, every trip you make even where you work also needs to be carbon neutral so how do I do that?

  • Can I find out if the company I’m buying from is carbon neutral?
  • How can I find out how much carbon is produced when I buy half a dozen apples from New Zealand?
  • Does traveling by train cause CO2 emissions?
  • Does this mean that I can never fly somewhere on holiday again?

These are all questions that need answering but my first port of call is somewhere that will provide me with a comprehensive carbon calculator that will tell me accurately what my CO2 emissions are for a year.

I know I’m not the first person to do this, someone did it for the guardian some time ago and I’m pretty sure there are a number of websites doing similar things. But I want to find out for myself how difficult this will be to do.