You may be familiar with the term “carbon footprint”, which refers to the amount of carbon that individual or household creates through their home, lifestyle, travel, etc. Since we don’t see the carbon impact of our activity and choices directly (besides maybe the tail pipe emissions from your car), a carbon footprint calculator can be a helpful tool to understand how various aspects of your life contribute to your carbon footprint.
Here is a link to an easy online carbon footprint calculator if you want to give it a try: https://www.conservation.org/carbon-footprint-calculator#/ At the end of this calculator, they’ll also provide you with an option for paying to offset your carbon footprint. I plan to discuss carbon offsets in more detail in a future post, but essentially it involves contributing to projects or efforts that reduce carbon emissions or capture carbon equal to the your carbon footprint amount. It can also be specific to an activity that you want to offset, like flying.
I think carbon footprint calculators are a great way to better understand the carbon impact of our choices. They can also provide ideas for lowering our footprint and roughly quantify the carbon amount we would personally need to offset to be carbon neutral. However, I also think that care of creation goes beyond just reducing our individual carbon emissions. I propose that we create a “care of creation calculator” that helps us take into account many other important aspects of care of creation and how it meshes with our spirituality, well-being, local communities, and more.
Here are some questions a “care of creation calculator” might ask:
-Do you enjoy time outdoors in nature? How often?
-Do you discuss care of creation, the environment, climate change, etc. with others? How frequently?
-Do you spend time in prayer, reflection, or with scripture contemplating God’s creation?
-How does your money (spending, investments, giving) align with caring for creation?
-Do you seek out opportunities to learn about the environment and care of creation topics?
While it may not give us a clear final number like a carbon footprint calculator, this tool could help us understand our strengths and areas where we can grow. It could inspire us to act more holistically to care for both creation and ourselves.
Let me know if you have ideas for questions for this Care of Creation calculator or other thoughts on this idea!