Saturday, February 4, 2023

Checking in on Your Carbon Footprint

I referenced being a lover of online quizzes a few posts ago.

Here's another one for you. This one is a free, not-behind-the-paywall quiz from the New York Times. "Quiz: What's the Best Way to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint" by Sander van der Linden is a simple 12 item quiz where you test your knowledge about the best way to reduce your own carbon emissions. Your job: to decide if each item has a small, moderate, or large effect. The other neat thing about this quiz is that once you answer, it shows the percentage of US quiz-takers who scored it accurately. 

I fared as Americans did on the question with the greatest percentage of Americans who got it right: 50%. And I'm sure that I've read more books that most people on the subject of carbon footprint and environmentalism... so one would expect I should have gotten more correct. I will say (in my defense), my errors were 1 degree away versus the two. For instance, if the true answer was "small effect," I put "moderate." Or vice versa. Or the same with "moderate" versus "large." So for the 6 I missed, I was "in the neighborhood."

According to the article, I was on par with most people. Most of the time I over-estimated the effect of my missed items. 

But it goes to show, even as educated as I am on these items, 50% of the correct answers isn't passing. We are seriously in need of education. Sander van der Linden's article that accompanies the quiz notes the same.

And spoiler alert, the one item you'd think most people are doing collectively (and most of America is probably not even doing well), ranks in the small department of effecting change. 

For some tips on reducing your carbon footprint, check out Columbia Climate School's The 37 Easiest Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (Animated Graphic), which is an excellent summary of many ways you can take action.

[For a more in-depth investigation into your own carbon footprint, check out Carbon Calculator.]

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