As global warming is getting worse and worse each year, more people are starting to be concerned about their impact on the environment and their personal carbon footprint, which is the total greenhouse gas emissions a person emits.
For example, the average carbon footprint of an American is 16 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. This is 4 times as much as the global average of just 4 tonnes per person per year. The Nature Conservancy estimates that, for global warming to be stopped, this average needs to drop even lower, at just 2 tonnes per person per year, by 2050.
But how can you be aware of your own carbon footprint when it is dependent on so many variables? It is not just the flights you take, or whether you use a personal car or public transport to get around. Diet also plays a big part, so does the clothing, or shoes and accessories, you choose to wear. The energy efficiency of the house you live in is also taken into consideration.
Then, if one day you choose to walk instead of taking the bus, or take the train instead of a plane, your footprint is reduced. Using carbon off-setting tools, like Ecosia, can also help reduce your impact on the environment.
With so many variables, it is close to impossible to compute your carbon footprint by yourself. Luckily, there are handy apps and websites that do that for you. They ask you all the right questions and, at the end, let you know what your footprint is and give you tips on how to improve it.
The Joro app tracks the carbon footprint of everything you buy, “to help collectively decarbonize our economy”. After you connect your credit or debit card, The Carbonizer, Joro’s proprietary emissions data and algorithm, uses your purchasing data to estimate your personal footprint, automatically.
Everything we buy uses energy and resources to produce, distribute, and dispose of. The app’s data sets and algorithm calculate the footprint of every purchase then shows you your top carbon drivers and your monthly footprint to reduce and offset effectively.
It offers an array of carbon off-setting projects and, if it notices your lifestyle improves over time, for example buying chicken instead of beef, it reduces the off-setting fee.
Adva is an education and action-oriented app designed to create a global environmental movement through collective individual action. After completing a lifestyle quiz about your daily habits, the app generates custom daily tasks and challenges, the completion of which generates rewards such as discounts on sustainable products and cashback.
MyEarth was created by researchers and students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology and tracks your energy usage and savings. Nancy Wong, professor of consumer science, made the app to make reducing day-to-day energy usage more accessible. Designed with a diary format, users can choose daily activities to reduce their carbon emissions and energy consumption.
Capture calculates your personalised monthly carbon target, based on recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Enable GPS tracking lets the app automatically predict emissions from daily journeys. Some additional simple questions also help track emissions from food.
The app automatically updates your progress and gives real-time feedback, then offers some off-setting options, auto-offset or ‘offset as you go’, to match monthly emissions through a choice of verified carbon offsetting projects around the world.
5. Earth Hero
Earth Hero was created by a global group of volunteers who decided to come together to address the climate emergency. You start by filling out a short survey to get a profile of where your carbon emissions come from, then you can choose your emission reduction targets based on relative global averages and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations.