Resources: Campaigning

Carbon calculator

Posted in: Campaigning
Resource type: Activities

Will you join us on our journey – on our exodus from our dependency on carbon? Among our first preparations is the need to check out our baggage. We won’t impose any excess baggage charges but we do ask you to find out how much ‘carbon’ baggage you are carrying.

The simplest way of doing this is to work out our own personal carbon footprint. There are many ways of doing this – some online, some rather simplistic, some very complicated. Operation Noah has combined data and ideas from several sources (CRAGS, Mark Lynas and COIN) to compile a simple, but accurate carbon foot-printing exercise that also includes personal consumption patterns (usually missing). But if you have found a useful alternative, please continue to use this. They will all give a useful starting point.

You will need a calculator, a spare hour and a year’s worth of fuel bills, vehicle mileage and an estimate of public transport usage. Ready to go? Download the carbon calculator.

Practical tips

Set yourself the target of repeating this footprint exercise every year so decide on the best time to do it. Digging out your fuel bills may help – by using the last accurate readings. Car services or MOTs always give an accurate mileage. You may need to do some estimations the first time you do this. From then on it will be based on the actual figures.

Household or personal footprint?

Should I do a personal carbon footprint or a household footprint?  If you are a couple with largely the same travel, lifestyle choices, then its easiest to work out a household footprint and divide in half. If you are a family with grown up children who have very different lifestyles and travel, divide the fuel bills by the number of people living in the house and then work out your own footprint.

Background facts and figures

The UK average personal carbon footprint is 12.5 tonnes of CO2 (including structural carbon that we all sign up to – road building, infrastructure, manufacturing etc). The UK government has committed us to a reduction of 80% by 2050 from the 1990 figures – around 2.4 tonnes of CO2 per person. Operation Noah would like this to be as close to zero as possible by 2030. If you already know your carbon footprint, fantastic! Share this message with others and try and work it out every year, continuing to review any excess baggage.


I’ve done the calculations and my footprint is much bigger than I though it would be!! What can we prune from our carbon heavy lifestyles? What baggage can we shed?

Various websites and several books are very helpful (‘How to live a low-carbon lifestyle’ by Chris Goodall and ‘How bad are bananas?: The carbon footprint of everything’ by Mike Berners-Lee for starters).

Biblical inspiration

In Luke:1-12 we read of how Jesus challenged his disciples to set out and share the good news taking few personal comforts. Jesus himself lived a very lightweight lifestyle. In Exodus 11 and 12 we read of how the Israelites had less than a day’s warning to pack their belongings and prepare to travel light – on their long journey towards the promised land.

Join us on this journey towards freedom from our dependence on carbon. It will be a challenging one, but one we will make together and one which will bring much satisfaction.

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