I am Ian Weeks and I live in Walnut Creek, CA USA. My carbon footprint was, interestingly enough, much higher than I expected. ‘Shocker’. It seems like most people in this discussion are above the average carbon footprint. I suppose that it isn’t surprising, most of us being American and all, but I feel as if I was green, that I was trying harder to recycle, to help the planet and save the Earth while others gassed us out of our own planet. As it turns out, I’m worst than the rest of you ( you being not you, reader, but average American), and that leaves me feeling puzzled, and honestly kind of bad.
As I looked through my results, I found that from just my traveling this year I am quite near the average for a human. This includes many plane flights across the United Sates and car ride to and from Alaska. Without transportation, I would be green enough to be considered a martian: I eat barely enough to sustain myself and most of what I do eat is vegetarian. I don’t buy a lot of things and California doesn’t require a lot of heat or air conditioning.
The fact that transportation only spiked my data got me thinking on whether other people had the same smudge in their otherwise fine collection. Scrolling through, I found many similar cases to mine. So this convinced me, or reiterated that fact into my head, that we need to either cut down on our transportation and go ‘au natural’ or we need to attain better technology to be a little bit less harsh on Mr. Ozone layer when we do travel. What can I do though? I’m not going to flatter myself, I don’t see an electric car or efficient train system coming out of my head. What can one high schooler do to affect what contributes to the air every day?
After I was done being cynical, I went back and looked through my results a second time to find ways to ‘cut corners’. I found some pretty obvious ones at first, taking shorter showers and changing all the remaining incandescent lights to florescent, and, while these perhaps do not have as big an impact as my transport did, they do make a small difference. As a kid, I suppose that a small difference is better than none, and that at least I am doing something.