Hello and welcome to Carbon Neutral Lent! This year, CNL is joining forces with Preserve Ireland and Small Change to bring you a series of podcasts, blog posts, resources and events that will help you to measure your carbon footprint this lent and find out which areas you can improve on. Every fortnight, we’ll be tackling a different topic in the events, podcast and blog posts. The four topics will be transport, electricity, heating and food.
Below is a free downloadable tool created by CNL founder Darragh Wynne which will help you keep track of your carbon in a way that is detailed enough to be accurate, but still simple enough to be doable. Thank you to Ellen Hegarty for the Irish version of the tracker!
“For people who want to take climate action but don’t know where to start, this is a great way to dip your toe in. Climate change is such a huge problem that it makes it difficult to stay motivated to make small changes, especially when you don’t even know how much of a difference it’s making. With our spreadsheet, you answer a few questions about electricity, heating, transport and food at the end of each week. It calculates your carbon footprint. You can make a change for the next week and see how much it brings your footprint down” – Darragh Wynne
Does this carbon tracker give me my entire carbon footprint?
No. Most things we spend money on have a carbon footprint such as clothes, electronics. So do more abstract things like a Netflix subscription, a mortgage and the taxes we pay. By choosing electricity, heating, transport and food, we selected 4 areas where people can realistically reduce their footprint over the course of 7 weeks.
How accurate is it?
Accuracy varies across categories. For example, if you keep track of the amount of petrol you bought for your car, it can give you a very accurate reading of those emissions. For food, it’s based off the average footprint for different types of diets so the person’s actual footprint may differ from the measured one.
If it’s not 100% accurate, what’s the point?
Pedometers are not 100% accurate in measuring steps or calories burned but they are still useful to give people an understanding of general exercise trends and something to work towards. The carbon tracker will still be able to show you broad trends of your emissions and show you where you can
Do I have to go vegan, cycle everywhere and sit in the cold and dark at home to do this?
No. You don’t have to change anything about your lifestyle if you don’t want to. You can just use it to learn about your current emissions if you wish.
How is it Carbon Neutral?
At the end of Lent, when you see what your total emissions are, you have the option to contribute to an offsetting project.
How long does it take to use the tracker?
You answer a few questions before Lent starts and then answer around 10 questions at the end of each week.
Do I have to do all of it all the time?
No. You can just do one section if you wish and put as much or as little effort in as you want.
Who has access to my information?
Nobody. Once you download the tracker, only you will see the information.
Do I have to be religious to take part?
No. The project materials and events have no religious connotations other than using the concept of Lent itself.
Do I have to do complicated calculations?
No, you just have to check your electricity meter, gas meter, estimate how far you’ve travelled on public transport etc., put that into the spreadsheet and it calculates your footprint.
Can I use the spreadsheet for a full family?
Unfortunately, the current design takes account of just 1 person’s footprint.