Want to cut down on your carbon footprint, but not sure the best way to proceed? Wondering whether you should go vegetarian or switch to a hybrid… it turns out a lot of us (me included) have misconceptions about which of our behaviors are the most carbon intensive. Take this New York Times quiz to find out what changes you can make to have the biggest impact.
After you’ve taken the quiz (and, if you’re like me, failed it), read on. Spoiler alert, I’m about to give you the answers to the quiz!
Should I go vegetarian or packaging-free? You would have “to avoid food packaging for approximately 11 years to have the same (carbon emissions) impact as one year without meat”! Excited about going veggie? Check out our family-friendly vegetarian meal plan! Or take it slow with One Meal a Day.
Should I turn off the lights or hang up my clothes to dry? Leaving an “LED light on for roughly 300 hours, or 13 days straight, has the same carbon footprint as one load in the dryer”! This one surprised me. I always knew dryers were energy-intensive, but I didn’t realize how bad they really are. I am inspired to find a way to hang my clothes in the winter now. Stay tuned!
Should I skip my European vacation or forgo red meat? “You’d have to give up beef for more than two years in order to offset the emissions from your round trip flight to Europe”! Plan a staycation here in New Hampshire this year! Rachel gave some great hike ideas this week to get you started.
Should I buy a hybrid? “If you switch from a Toyota Camry to a Toyota Prius, you can drive almost twice as far on the same amount of emissions”. We’ve been driving a Prius for six years now and I will never go back. BUT I would love to go forward! Still hoping for a zero-emissions vehicle, but in the meantime, driving less, choosing public transit, and ride-sharing are great alternatives.
You might read this article and think, hmmm… so I don’t need to go zero-waste or turn off my lights? The answer to that is a resounding NO! We all need to do everything we can. The quiz was intended to highlight our misconceptions about what our biggest carbon-producing activities are. I hope the answers will help you make some better choices in your life, as it will for me (I am choosing to focus on drying my clothes). However, it is important to remember that this quiz is only about carbon emissions, plastic packaging is a major environmental issue for other reasons.
Now is a great time to make a personal or family resolution to decrease your carbon emissions. You have to numbers, now make it happen!