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.