Reducing My Footprint
Ontarians have large carbon footprints. The average Ontarian personally causes about 11 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.* More than half of the average Ontarian's carbon footprint comes from just four activities: driving, heating our homes, flying, and eating beef. For most people, the opportunities to reduce the most emissions are in those same four activities.
Individual actions are not enough to protect our global climate, but they are a great place to start.
*carbon dioxide equivalents
In one year, the average Ontarian emits...
(Like driving 10,000 km alone in a midsize gasoline car)
(Like heating a small one bedroom home with natural gas)
(Like flying economy from Toronto to Vancouver round trip)
(Like eating a small hamburger every other day)
Near zero carbon if driving an electric vehicle, taking transit, cycling or walking
Near zero carbon if heating with electricity, solar, wood or renewable natural gas
Near zero carbon if not flying, or if buying certified carbon credits to offset flights
Near zero carbon if eating plant-based proteins instead
Better than average footprint
50% better if car pooling with someone
10% better if driving small car
40% better if living with someone
30% better if renovated for energy efficiency
10% better if flying without checked bag
50% better if flying half as often or as far
70% better if eating pork, poultry, eggs or dairy instead
Worse than average footprint
60% worse if driving large pickup truck
100% worse if driving 20,000 km
200% worse if living alone in a single-detached house
100% worse if flying twice as often or far
100% worse if flying first class
100% worse eating the equivalent of a small hamburger daily
Stuff We Buy and Throw Away
The other half of the average Ontarian's personal carbon footprint is mostly from stuff and services we buy. Especially stuff. Many of us have too much of it. Buying fewer goods, making them last and throwing less away would really help. Recycling helps a little, but much less than we think.
Other Energy Use
Anything that burns fossil fuels is doing climate damage, including diesel generators, gasoline recreational vehicles, propane barbeques and natural gas power plants. Over 90% of Ontario’s electricity is carbon free, but we often use natural gas to generate the extra electricity needed when demand is very high.
I'm Not Average...
Everyone's life is unique and so is their carbon footprint. Whether you live in the city or the country, you can reduce some of your carbon footprint through individual actions. But other reductions depend on collective action and good government policy. See the backgrounder for ideas and work with your neighbours for opportunities.
Speak up for Collective Action
Climate change is everyone’s problem. We all share the same planet, and we have to work together to solve this problem. That requires good government policies, like making polluters pay for the damage caused.
Individual action is a great place to start, but it would be a terrible place to stop. Will you speak up?