Friday, October 02, 2009

Today is National Carbon Footprint Day

Take a look at the National Carbon Footprint Day site.

Launched in 2008, with Marcus Brigstock and former London Deputy Mayor Jenny Jones, GLAM as patrons, National Carbon Footprint Day takes place every year on October 2nd, which is Gandhi's birthday. The aim is to make it easy for everyone to remember to calculate their annual carbon and environmental footprints.

This site has two purposes.

To enable people to register for free their annual carbon footprint.

To provide an annual free recording and reminder service on October 2nd every year,for your key carbon footprint measurements

For a full explanation of how it works please go to our “FAQ” page.National Carbon Footprint Day Patron Jenny Jones GLAM says “With the Arctic summer ice now melting over six times faster than predicted only 4 years ago and with the permafrost predicted to melt three times faster than expected barely a year ago, climate change is now truly a climate crisis. It is essential that we all take action urgently”.

Measuring your carbon footprint is the essential first step to taking responsibility to reducing your contribution to the crisis.

Donnachadh McCarthy who founded National Carbon Footprint Day and whose Victorian house in Camberwell became London’s first carbon negative home in 2007, says that actually measuring his annual water and energy carbon footprints, were his biggest motivators to continuously improve his home’s eco-performance.

He launched the world’s first National Carbon Footprint Day to help you monitor and cut your carbon footprint.. The key thing is to start reducing your carbon and environmental footprints now!


  1. Funny question I know, but does smoking add considerably to my carbon footprint?!

    I smoke 140 per week, 7280 per year. How does that add to my footprint?


  2. Lets not forget that smoking pollutes and then kills smokers and affects those in the vicinity too! I'd be very concerned about that if I was a smoker - and the fact that I'd be paying to pollute myself!

    I've not seen any figures on the carbon footprint of cigarettes/smoking (its a shame that we dont require products to be marked with theor carbon footprint, calculated according to an agreed international standard). Having said that the production and consumption of tobacco is a major industry operating on a global basis!The net carbon emissions from growing the tobacco, including land use changes, artificial fertilisers and pesticides, fuel for farm machinery..., from manufacturing the dry tobacco and then the cigarettes, including the masses of paper and the plastic for the filter..., and from packaging, storage, transport between all these stages from many parts of the not going to be small.

  3. I did find the following information about environmental impacts of tobacco here:

    'Here's some frightening information in relation to what we're doing to the planet, mostly provided by the Health Department of Western Australia.

    Nearly 600 million trees of forest are destroyed each year to provide wood to dry tobacco.

    in Tanzania, an estimated 65 pounds of wood is needed to dry a pound of tobacco

    In countries where wood isn't used, LPG, coal or oil is used for drying

    by 2010, 87 percent of the world’s tobacco will be grown in the developing world.

    A modern cigarette manufacturing machine can use up to 3.7 miles of paper an hour

    Tobacco plants use more nutrients than many other crops, degrading the soil.

    Vast quantities of pesticides, fertilizer and herbicides are used on tobacco crops. Some crops requires over a dozen applications of pesticides during the three-month growing period.

    I never really gave much thought to the tobacco drying situation - that's astounding.

    Cigarette butts

    Our cigarette butts also do a lot of damage. I thought they were made of cotton (not the most environmentally friendly crop), but it seems to be often a form of plastic. The polymer acetate filters are comprised of thousands of fibers that can take up to 15 years to break down. The residue from tobacco in the butts also releases toxins into the environment. Trillions of butts are discarded each year.

    Tobacco additives

    If all that wasn't enough, there's all sorts of additives dumped into tobacco for flavoring, color and preserving. But don't just take my word for it - check out the tobacco ingredient list from Philip Morris USA, a major cigarette manufacturer. But wait, there's more - here's a list from Philip Morris of all the additional non-tobacco ingredients they use. There's some nasty stuff in those lists - and that's what we're cranking into not only our lungs, but an already pollution ladened atmosphere.

    Forest fires

    Discarded cigarettes are a major cause of forest fire in the USA, not to mention fatal fires generally. Over 1000 Americans lose their lives a year from tobacco related fires.'

    Plus I found what appears to be a well referenced, though now quite old discussion paper here:

    The tobacco industry itself also has plenty to say about its environmental impacts - they recognise the need to reduce them it appears (though I dont know much about their record of achivement on this). British American Tobacco say

    ' We recognise the significant concerns about climate change in general and the specific challenges it could pose to our business in commercial, regulatory or physical ways. We have assessed this with a view to the future and are working to take prudent actions now.'

    See here for details:

    Imperial Tobacco say,

    'Tobacco growing may use wood either as a fuel for curing Virginia and fire-cured tobacco or as construction material for drying and grading barns. Wood from non-renewable sources is sometimes used which may contribute to deforestation and the loss of biodiversity. Poor management of agrochemicals may pollute soil and water and create an imbalance of the ecosystems if mishandled.'

    See more details here:

  4. I guess it's not the smoke, more the production which is the problem.

    Well, I am more likely to see this as the irresponsibility of smoking, rather than the unproven scientific link re passive smoking.

    Is there anything which is fun which isn't harmful to the environment? I wonder how much co2 I emit during a bout of lovemaking? or increased methane after a curry (sorry)!? Only joking! I suppose humanity can learn to get pleasure from other unartificial avenues.

  5. No worries anonymous. There's a billion and one fun things that humans have been doing, many for the last few hundred thousand years, that (unless you're a Jain) normally harm none, will benefit you and are free or very cheap.

    Sex, in all it's myriad forms, yup, it's verrry good for you, physically and psychologically - so long as the contraception keeps working! Dancing, singing, playing music, woodcarving, potting, jewellery-making, massage, telling jokes, walking, running, gardening, yoga, wrestling, boxing, football, cricket, gin rummy ...

    Or is your suggestion going to be the new trend? Perhaps we should all be put into boxes at birth for maximum sedation / minimum co2 output, and fed through drips ... a stage on from The Machine Stops by EM Forster?

    That would make life so much easier for our bosses, wouldn't it?


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.