Learning About Your Carbon Footprint

What is Earth Day?
This past Sunday, April 22, 2007 marked the 37th anniversary of Earth Day. The first Earth Day was organized by US Senator Gaylord Nelson (D – WI), a longtime environmental activist, and celebrated by over 20 million Americans in streets, parks, and campuses all across the United States. Overwhelming public support galvanized legislative action and led to the passage of many of our nation’s key environmental measures.
In the wake of Earth Day 1970, President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Congress amended the Clean Air Act to set national air quality, auto emission, and anti-pollution standards.
In 1971, Greenpeace was founded in Canada; in 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to prevent water pollution; and in 1973, the Endangered Species Act was enacted to save rare animals from extinction.

Learn About Your Carbon Footprint
To celebrate Earth Day this year, and to preserve precious natural resources for future generations, we can learn about, become aware of, and take action to reduce our carbon footprint.
A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.
According to UK website www.carbonfootprint.net, a typical person’s carbon footprint comes from the use of natural resources at home, at leisure, in transportation, and for the manufacture of consumer goods and services.

Gas, Oil and Coal 15%
Recreation and leisure 14%
Share of public services 12%
Electricity 12%
Private Transport 10%
Household (buildings and furnishings) 9%
Carbon in car manufacture 7%
Holiday Flights 6%
Food and Drink 5%
Clothes and personal effects 4%
Financial services 3%
Public Transport 3%
Financial services 3%

For additional ideas or suggestions, please contact your Green Living Representative or Green Living Coordinator, Meryl Brott at meryl_brott@harvard.edu.

11 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

– Carpool

– Use public transportation

– Buy local goods with minimal packaging

– Reduce food wastage

– Use re-usable rather than disposable products whenever possible

– Turn off the lights when you leave the room

– Turn off appliances when not in use

– Recycle all of your paper, plastic, and food containers

– Donate gently-used items instead of throwing them away

– Keep your refrigerator full and run the dishwasher and washing machine when full

– Explore EnergyStar/green energy appliances and heating/cooling options for your next house/apartment