Last August, the NY Times published this mini quiz comparing the carbon impact of various actions:
I encourage you to give it a try and see how you do guessing equivalent amounts of carbon emissions. It requires your best attempt at what I’ll call “carbon mental math.” I was in the ballpark for a few but was drastically off for others. I think it effectively demonstrates that it can be hard for us to really know exactly the carbon impact of many of our choices.
I think that learning has two important implications. One, we should educate ourselves to understand where our biggest carbon impact comes from and seek to tackle those areas in our own individual attempts to reduce our carbon footprint. Two, it’s not all about the numbers or constantly calculating our individual carbon total. It’s important to be aware of our impact but we should seek a posture where we endeavor to take a positive action to care for creation because it is the right thing to do.
I certainly am constantly challenged trying to live with care of creation in mind and am still seeking the right balance of how much to be running that “carbon mental math”. Wherever you’re at on your journey, I believe this pursuit of integrating care for creation into our lives, even in small ways, can benefit both the environment and ourselves.