How big is your carbon footprint?

Carbon footprint is a term often bandied about these days but what does it mean and how do you calculate yours? Environment correspondent TARA GREAVES explains.

Carbon footprint is a term often bandied about these days but what does it mean and how do you calculate yours? Environment correspondent TARA GREAVES explains.

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Whether turning on the kettle for a cuppa or jetting off on holiday - everything has an impact on the planet in terms of the carbon dioxide we emit.

The question is, how do we continue with our lives but also cut down on the environmental impact?

A carbon footprint is a way of calculating the effect human activities have in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide - and everyone can do it.

Recently it was the turn of three year 5 classes from Angel Road Middle School in Norwich, who visited the Norfolk Wildlife Trust at Hickling Broad for a Sustainability Challenge Day.

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Katherine Weston, Norfolk Wildlife Trust education officer, said: “Children can make a lot of choices that could help the environment. As consumers themselves, and with a great influence over their parents, deciding to start recycling or cutting down on packaging will have positive effects in the long term. The Sustainability Challenge Day is all about showing the children their current impact on the world and discussing ways they can reduce it.”

The children also brought a low-impact lunch with them as they had been told that their waste would be measured and were encouraged to bring only containers that could be re-used, or at least recycled, and have nothing for landfill.

Now you can have you go at getting a rough idea of your carbon footprint in a simple questionnaire supplied by YHA as part of their Green Shoots campaign.

More detailed calculators, which require information from utility bills, are also available.

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