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Footprints in the Air

Here’s a riddle: What walks throughout Canada, weighs more than a Brit, but less than an American, and can help stop global warming? No, it’s not Sasquatch. It’s not Kyoto.
Stumped? We’ll give you a hint. It’s the average Torontonian’s carbon footprint!
According to Zerofootprint, a not-for-profit environmental organization, the average Torontonian’s carbon footprint sits at 8.6 tonnes per year—more than a fully-grown African elephant! Zerofootprint teamed up with the City of Toronto to create a locally-based website, which Mayor David Miller unveiled earlier this week. The site hosts an online, Toronto-specific footprint calculator where you can find how much carbon dioxide it takes to go by GO Train, streetcar, and even scooter.
While this carbon footprint may not leave a shoe-shaped imprint in the ground, it does make a much wider impact on the atmosphere, when it comes to climate change and global warming. A carbon footprint is a measure of approximately how much carbon dioxide an individual adds to the atmosphere in their everyday activities. This includes everything from low-registering organic produce and fuel-efficient public transit, to carbon-dioxide hogs like SUVs and over-packaged fast food. If you’re a frequent flyer, or have a lengthy commute, your carbon footprint will likely weigh you down, but you can lighten it up with lots of recycling and locally-made products (and support your city at the same time!).
Zerofootprint uses a social-network setup similar to that of Facebook, where users can group with other eco-conscious people by community, school, or simply over a common bond (Soccer Mom SUVs might be a popular one). And since Toronto boasts/is guilty of having the second-largest Facebook community in the world, this seems like the right place to start.
Thanks to Sabrina for the tip. Photo by robpatrick.


  • AR

    According to the calculator, if I lived at Casa Loma, was a heavy meat eater, had 5 international flights per year, and drove an SUV 20000 kilometres per year, my carbon footprint would be 173.33 tonnes per year. Now that’s excess.

  • rek

    7.60 on the one minute calculator.

  • Rachel Lissner

    I scored 4.12 but was really surprised to see that be cut in half if I went from vegetarian to vegan and would like to know why.
    Between this and the eco-issue of NOW, I am really glad to that Toronto is (at least trying to be) conscious of its environmental choices. Big ups.
    And environmentalist rant of the day: In my apartment, I live with a few other girls and a compost bin. Even though I promised them I would take out the compost and encourage them to put their food scraps in the green bin, they still throw away all of their rotten food and recyclable containers in the trash can that is literally three inches away from the compost bin. WHY?

  • rek

    What killed me is living alone in a large apartment — 6 rooms adds 4.89 all by itself.

  • Jaime Woo

    12.12. Damn, I’m going to have to plant a lot of trees for going to London, Orlando, and Vancouver last year. I recycle all the polystyrene I can. That must count for something!