The first step of the Gorge Footprint Challenge is to add up your “carbon footprint”, the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by your activities in a year, including transportation, your household, your food, and purchases of goods and services. For uniformity we’re using the same calculator that Oregon DEQ has adopted. It provides simple calculations or more detail if you’re interested. It will ask you how many miles you drove and flew and how much electricity and gas you use in a year, etc.; so you may want to add up your utility bills to get more accurate. This calculated result can be your baseline for future emission reductions (“shrinking your footprint”).
The CoolClimate Calculator link will open the calculator in a new browser tab. Return to the Gorge Footprint Challenge page to report your household total, divided by the number of people in your household. Note that the calculator gives you lots of suggestions for improvements, and these can be printed or stored as a pdf file if you wish.
(Note for residents of Klickitat and Wasco Counties: Your electricity is almost entirely from hydro and wind, so you can check 100% clean electricity and you needn’t add up your electric bills. By contrast, Hood River residents on regular Pacific Power get about 2/3 of their electricity from coal.)
Then celebrate your first step toward treading lightly on our planet! You just learned the size of your footprint and many things you can do about it.
Next: Footprint planning