My name is Michael and I am a high school student in Oakland, CA.
I was very surprised by my carbon footprint, but looking at it now, maybe I shouldn’t have been. My total carbon footprint was about 3 times as much as the average carbon footprint for my region.
The biggest factor that contributed to this was the transportation aspect. Being a high school student, it is a privilege and right of passage to drive to school, as well as a means of transportation. However, being in high school with little to no income, the only cars that students can truly afford, for the most part, are old compact cars. These compact cars, like the one that I have, have very low gas mileage, meaning that the two hundred plus students that carpool or drive themselves to school are filling up the atmosphere with lots of CO2, more so than if they were driving these new, gas saving, even electric cars. The social pressure to drive to school is so big and our parents do not want to shell out for new cars, perhaps there is little or nothing that we can do about the old car situation, except not drive at all, and take the bus, or horseback.
The next biggest factor was the electricity and household uses. My family has hot meals every night, meaning we use a lot of gas, and we also watch a lot of TV and leave lights on for our enjoyment. This contributes to a lot of energy consumption that could be very easily avoided, and I realize now the impact of this.
I do think though that there are certain pleasures in life that we humans are entitled to. If we look at the very first invention of fire, yes, we lit the spark to a wide output of CO2 into the atmosphere, but it made life easier, and less stressful. So, while most times we go overboard with these luxuries, there are a few that we are entitled to, right?