Have you ever wondered how much energy you use? A carbon footprint is "historically defined as the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent," Wikipedia.com. Most of the decisions you make on a daily basis will in some way impact your carbon footprint -- the amount of carbon the activity releases into the air. This excess carbon in the air is part of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
The scary part is, it isn't just the things you do personally, like driving your car, that contribute to your carbon footprint. For instance, those beautiful, delicious-looking strawberries in the grocery store in December in WI... where did those come from? They certainly weren't grown here at that time of year! They were grown in another part of the US, or even in another country, and shipped here by truck or plane. How much energy was used to power that truck or plane? By purchasing those strawberries, you are enforcing the demand for them and thus the energy required to bring them to you. This is one example of how a small decision can make a big difference in greenhouse gas emissions.
The Carbon Footprint Calculator is a free tool provided by the Nature Conservancy that will lead you step by step through the process of determining your personal carbon footprint. It also gives ideas on how to take action to reducing your footprint. It's a real eye-opener!
By the way, you can still have strawberries in WI in December... just buy the frozen ones, or better yet, buy extras in the summer and freeze them yourself. Yum!