Personal carbon footprints have been around since the 1990s but did you know it was actually a marketing campaign from BP in 2005 that popularised the term?
The marketing campaign called on people to ‘go on a low-carbon diet’. In effect, it shifted the blame for the climate crisis away from industry and onto individual choices.
No wonder more and more people think it’s a sham, as we are called on to reduce our footprint all the while the government and business work too slowly.
The rise of Doomerism
There’s even a new term to describe this rise in environmental pessimism: Doomerism, the belief that it’s all too late and that there’s nothing we as individuals can do about it.
It’s easy to see why you’d be pessimistic about our future, and more important, what impact we can have as individuals.
There are new headlines everyday spelling environmental judgement day, the latest is that leading scientists predict we will completely exceed the 1.5°C temperature rise target set in the Paris Agreement.
What can we do?
To the naysayers I say: OK, Doomer, but resigning to defeat will only make things worse. We still have the chance to prevent the worst from happening.
Pessimism and lack of action is exactly what the fossil fuel industry wants. It’s our responsibility to do what is within our means to prove the latest doomsday headlines wrong.
Whether by reducing our home energy use, choosing to eat less supermarket red meat or taking fewer long haul flights, we all vote with our choices.
What do you do to reduce your carbon footprint? Are you a fan of personal footprint calculators?