How much carbon I am responsible for?

A few days ago I decided to find out how much Green House Gases I was responsible for.

There are many nifty tools out there that can give you an estimate and a I finally settled with Footprint Calculator. Once of the cool features of the website is that it estimates not only your GHG gases but your general footprint. Not only that, but instead of showing you a number that is hard to contextualize (are 6000m2/yr of CO2 too much or too little?), it shows you how many planets Earth full of resources we would need to have if everyone was to have your same lifestyle. In a way, this is a very Sartre way of thinking (“Man is condemned to be free”- Existentialism is a Humanism (1946)), forcing us to think as role models for the rest of the species.

So, going back to my results: I was surprised. Since I’m vegan, I don’t have a car and I don’t buy many things, I was expecting that my livelihood could be within the reaches of our only lonely planet.

I was in shock when I discovered that it does not suffice with 1, but 2 planet Earth full of resources.

I wasn’t ready to accept that reality as it was, so I started adjusting several of the parameters in the calculator, trying to understand what was going on. After failing attempt after attempt, I tried reducing my flights hours. As someone that used to live in Europe but had his family in South America, I often took at least a transatlantic flight once a year for holidays. From anywhere but Spain, a round trip to Uruguay can take up to 35 hours of flying. And so when I removed my total flight hours and tried again, surprise surprise, I got my so long desired “1 planet Earth full of resources”.

The moral of the story is: flying produces A LOT! of GHG and even if you think that your footprint is small, you might be surprised.

I challenge you to give it a try, even if you don’t change anything in your life as a result: information is power.