If we love our children, we must rapidly act against climate change. In order to see what I can personally do and how my (fashion) consumption contributes to my own footprint, I calculated my own CO2-footprint with the calculator of the German Umweltbundesamt. This way, I want to identify which actions I can take to reduce my footprint – and I hope, I can motivate you to do the same.
Here are my results:
My footprint is at 3.7t / year, while the average German has 11.6t / year. 3.7t is a little below the global average of 4.5t – but they are too much to be sustainable. I believe that every individual must progress as far as possible to reach the 1.5 degrees aim – but, of course, politicians and CEOs must act.
Let’s decipher my footprint.
HEATING (0.26t): This strongly depends on the size of house, the insulation, the way of ventilation and the heating systems. We (four) live on around 85 sqm, which is below average in Switzerland. And I am lucky: I live in a street where our house uses a heat pump, which is very efficient. Without this, my footprint would be 1t higher.
ELECTRICITY (0.02t): We buy green power, and therefore the calculation adds up to almost nothing. I am not sure, whether this is really correct, as water power stations must also be build. Using a normal energy mix, my footprint would be 1t higher.
MOBILITY (0.18t): I don’t have a car and I do most of my travels in Zurich by bike. I estimated that I use public transport for 10km once a week and once a month 100km train ride plus 4x a year a 1.000 km train ride. And even if I do 8 travels of 1.000km by train, the calculator only adds 0.04t. In contrast, adding 10 hours flying time adds 1.7 tons CO2…
FOOD (1.42t): My highest single contribution. I do not eat meat, I buy a lot of local food and I buy a lot of organic food. Still, it emit more than 1 ton CO2 by just eating. This certainly has to do with the fact that most of our food is industrialized and not CO2-optimized. I will try to find out how I can reduce this.
OTHER CONSUMPTION (1.09t): This is also quite a lot – and this includes my clothing footprint. I said that I spend 150 Euro / months on other consumption, probably most on books, cinema and my outdoor stuff. The calculator actually only provides a very rough image. In the next weeks, I will try to understand this more – and I plan to check my personal contribution through buying fashion more.
PUBLIC EMISSIONS (0.73t): This is the contribution of the government (buildings etc.) divided by all citizens. I cannot change much about it, but I would pressurize the government and elect accordingly. Changes must happen on a political level.
Why is my footprint 2/3 below the average?
If we regard the average footprint, the distribution is like this:
- 40% of the average footprint is on „other consumption“. The fashion footprint apparently is around 10% of all. Reason enough to enquire further.
- 19% of the average footprint is on mobility. Commuting by car is surely a large contributor plus flights. Flying 10hours a year adds 1.7t. I am lucky I do not have to commute a lot and I hardly fly.
- 15% of the average footprint is on food – and despite I seem to do much here (organic, no meat, regional), I am not sure how I can reduce this even more.
- 14% of the average footprint is on heating. I use 20 sqm, which is below the Swiss average, and luckily, our heating is very good from an environmental perspective. You can do a lot, if you own a house, otherwise, changing the heating is difficult.
- 7% is on electricity. I use eco-electricity therefore I have less here. This is easy to do. Just change your supplier and pay your environmental footprint.
This is a fist overview. Until 2050, we will need to radically cut our greenhouse gas emissions, and GET CHANGED! will look more deeply into the fashion sector.
Check your own footprint here with the UBA-calculator.
What are you interested about? Please leave your comments!