Are Personal Actions a One Billion Ton Opportunity?

billion ton graphic photo

Image credit: NRDC

With simple, inexpensive, changes in behavior, it is easy to cut our carbon footprints. On a personal level, these cuts can be significant, saving a ton or more of carbon annually. But on a larger scale, in the face of private jets and industrial agriculture, coal power and a hundred other things, can small changes in our everyday life really have an impact. Our inner cynic, Matt Eisenson writes, says no.But, along with NRDC, Eisenson is taking action to defeat that pessimistic thread and prove, finally, that individuals have the power to make a difference.

Simple Steps is a program in which participants track their carbon expenditures. The goal is not to compete against one another, but instead to work together to eliminate one billion tons of carbon emissions in a year.

Eisenson says:

We aim to show that if Americans carry out simple and affordable personal actions and achieve modest behavioral change, it will be sufficient to reduce our nation's GHG emissions by one billion metric tons of CO2-equivalent (CO2e) below business-as-usual by 2020.

It's not an exercise of probability, he says, but of possibility. He continues by explaining that "we do not presume to estimate the likelihood of adoption for each of the actions we propose; rather, we aim to illustrate the potential impacts of total participation and encourage collective action." If successful, the effort will prevent one seventh on the United State's annual carbon emissions.

Ultimately, the project should not be seen as a challenge. Instead, it is an opportunity. Simple Steps is a chance for people, making a relatively small effort, to be part of something huge and positive.

Join the Simple Steps Community Today
Read more about making change:
Your Carbon Footprint: Calculating, Reducing and Offsetting Your Impact
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by One Ton a Year
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Half in Three Steps
The Best Sites to Calculate the Environmental Impact of Your Life

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