I have been attending the University of Illinois in Chicago for two weeks now, and therefore, cannot say I’ve had a considerable sustainable or unsustainable impact on campus. However, my carbon footprint has certainly contributed to my own community’s ability to sustain itself. In fact, the average American contributed 19.8 tonnes of carbon emissions per person yearly, according the Guardian. This is significantly higher than China’s per capita (person) emissions of 4.6, even though China has become the country with the highest overall carbon emissions percentage in the world. While I would like to believe that my carbon footprint is less than that of the average American, I have examined that I do consume a significant amount energy and water throughout the day. First, I shower for about 15-20 minutes everyday, which is more than 17 gallons of water a day, without the use of the sink and toilet included. I do, however, take the CTA to school (I find that I live too far to bike comfortably), and while I own a car, I rarely use it. Public Transportation, while not necessarily always as convenient as driving your own car and not entirely green itself, has been proven to be more cost effective and environmentally friendly (in terms of carbon emissions) per individual, than private transportation (source link below). While I do recycle as well, I find that the amount I recycle accounts for less than 25% of my overall trash, simply because the rest is often not recyclable. In effect, I have been trying to reduce the amount of garbage I produce in the past year by cutting out plastic bags (for example I usually bring my own bag when I shop, and ask for the cashier not to give me a bag if I buy something small), as well as trying to buy products with degradable containers and products that do not contaminate soil and water (organic facial cleansers for example). However, environmentally friendly products can sometimes be more expensive as generic brands, and I definitely see this as something that needs to considered and improved upon in future and current urban sustainability models.
Public Transport Reduces Carbon Footprint
Carbon Emission Per Person, By Country