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Ecology home > Climate Change > Shrink Your Carbon Footprint Pledge
© Copyrighted City of Bellevue 2008- adapted with permission
In our day to day lives, we all leave an impression on our environment. As we learn more about climate change and global warming, we see opportunities each of us can take to reduce our “carbon footprint”.
A Carbon Bigfoot is someone who has a large impact on the planet's resources and, as a result, a BIG carbon footprint.
By taking action through this pledge, each of us can shrink our individual carbon footprint and move further away from leaving and being a Carbon Bigfoot.
Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide created from your everyday activities. Carbon dioxide, the most plentiful greenhouse gas, 'traps' the sun's heat and contributes to global climate change.
The United States is the world's largest source of greenhouse gases. With only 4 percent of the world's population the U.S. contributes 25 percent of global greenhouse gas pollution. (See Frequently Asked Questions - Climate Change.)
In Washington State, transportation accounts for about half of our total carbon footprint. The next largest contributors from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) are residential, commercial, and industrial sectors (20 percent) and electricity consumption from these sectors (20 percent). Although much of Washington’s electricity comes from hydropower generated by dams, some still comes from greenhouse gas producing coal-burning plants. Depending on your energy provider, a growing amount of electricity comes from wind power, which does not produce greenhouse gas. (See Washington GHG Inventory pg ES-2. Also see Your Energy Provider carbon footprint.)
Washington State is addressing climate change because its impacts go far beyond a change in the weather. Climate shapes everything — ecosystems, crops, water, forests, fisheries, economy, lifestyles, health — so even small changes can have big impacts. A few degrees in temperature may not feel like much, but it can make the difference between rain and snow, early snowmelt or late, flowing summer streams or dry creek beds, healthy or charred forests, and extreme weather floods, droughts or summer heat waves. Our state is vulnerable to a warming climate, especially our snow-fed water supplies and nearly 40 communities along our 2,300 miles of shoreline that are threatened by rising sea levels. In the past 10 years we've seen an increase in floods, droughts and wildfires. (See Issue Up Close: Facing the challenge of Climate Change and Frequently Asked Questions - Climate Change.)
You probably already include many of the practices outlined below in your daily routine. If so, congratulations and thank you! Now you have the opportunity to take the next steps. Everyday choices affect your personal carbon footprint and our climate. Working together we can make a difference. Our children and generations to follow will be glad we did!
Simple actions can drastically reduce the carbon dioxide produced during your daily activities. You are invited to take a pledge to reduce your personal contribution to global climate change.
Because transportation accounts for close to half of our state's carbon footprint, your biggest effect will likely come from steps taken to address your transportation choices, found at the end of the pledge. However, the pledge starts with easier steps you can take around the house.
To take the pledge, fill in the form below indicating those activities you already do or have done, and those you are willing to do next. N/A means this actions does Not Apply to me. Print a copy for yourself and send your response back to us.
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.html.