Carbon footprint versus climate shadow

The Guardian, written by Emma Pattee

“There has long been a debate about how much individual actions matter when it comes to climate. The oil industry’s promotion of the concept of the carbon footprint has led some to believe that the whole idea is a huge distraction technique to divert attention from corporations driving the crisis. But as Greta Thunberg demonstrates, individuals can have a big impact, just not always in ways that can be measured.

Part of the challenge is that we have no good way to conceptualize our impact as individuals. [Emma Pattee] came up with the concept of a “climate shadow” to try to help visualize how the sum of our life choices influences the climate emergency. Your shadow includes the car you drive and what you eat, but it’s also about where you work, how you engage in the workplace, where you invest your money and how much you talk about climate,” says this article.

Now let’s extrapolate this. Say that I put solar panels on my house. That’s great. But what if my place of work transitions to clean energy? You can calculate the difference, we’re talking orders of magnitude. But my place of work is only going to transition to solar energy if someone starts the conversation.

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