The more we understand our own contributions to greenhouse-gas emissions, the better we can act to reduce them. The CoolClimate Carbon-Footprint Calculator shows us how we are doing, and how we can to do better.
The online, easy-to-use calculator gives individuals, schools, businesses, and communities a look at their complete carbon footprint — how their choices for transportation, energy use, food, water, waste, goods, and services add to emissions, both directly and indirectly
Users can get a quick estimate of their carbon-footprint profile by typing in their location, household size, and income. Then they can refine and personalize the estimate with answers to a few basic questions about the way they live and consume. They can compare their results to those of similar households, and produce a customized action plan, pinpointing what they can do to yield the biggest reductions in their carbon emissions.
But information alone is not enough. Researchers are working to understand what motivates people’s actions and how to remove barriers that keep them from adopting sustainable behavior. Calculator users can join groups of similar consumers and share their carbon-footprint profiles and reduction strategies. Forming such networks taps into the social motivations that influence our actions — and helps us stick to our plans and good intentions for carbon management.