Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas. These can come from direct or indirect sources. Indirect sources are those not directly seen in your community, such as the amount fuel it takes to bring in avocados from mexico, while direct sources are easy to pinpoint, such as factory smokestacks or fossil fuel power plants.


Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in the Patuxent River

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, which is the part of the government that makes sure our environment is cared for, the electricity you use in your home creates the biggest part of your carbon footprint. Although electricity doesn’t make greenhouse gases when you use it, the power plants that make the electricity do. Power plants that use coal to make electricity create the most carbon dioxide.

Heating Your Home
Keeping warm in the winter is the second biggest source of carbon dioxide, and it adds to your carbon footprint. Your house probably uses fossils fuels like oil, natural gas or electricity to keep you warm. The amount of CO2 your house makes depends on the type of fuel you use and how high you set your thermostat. You also add to your carbon footprint when you run the air conditioner to stay cool in the summer time.

Other Sources of Carbon Dioxide
When your family uses your car, it adds to your family’s carbon footprint. That’s because a car uses gasoline to run, and it produces carbon dioxide as waste. Buses, trains and planes also produce CO2, but carpooling and taking public transit can help you cut down on the amount of fossil fuels burned to get you around town. Your trash also makes your carbon footprint bigger. The government estimates that every pound of trash you put in the garbage makes one pound greenhouses gases. That happens because, over time, trash produces CO2 and methane, another type of greenhouse gas.

Making Your Carbon Footprint Smaller
The best way to make your carbon footprint smaller is to use less electricity and less fossil fuels. Be sure to turn off your computer, television and lights when you’re not using them. Lower the temperature in your house during the winter and raise it in the summer. Walk and bike whenever you can instead of using the car or bus. Reduce the amount of trash you create by recycling and reusing items.

Take THIS QUIZ to learn more about your footprint and how many planets are needed to sustain the way you live!

Lent is a time for prayer, fasting, and more intentional sharing. This year, our church is joining with many others in heeding the call to be stewards of God’s Creation throughout this season. May THIS CALENDAR remind us to be more mindful of the ways that our daily habits impact both “our common home” and all those with whom we share it. On behalf of future generations and all living in poverty—those most harmed by our damaged climate—may we answer God’s call to be faithful stewards, speaking out for Creation care.