The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has launched an easy-to-use carbon footprint calculator for cellphones in partnership with BULKSMS.com – the first of its kind in South Africa.
Called MyCO2Print, it is far simpler than the carbon footprint calculators on the web, says Carolyn Cramer of the WWF. “This is intentional. We wanted a tool which would enable South Africans to measure their carbon footprint in terms of travel and energy use and to try to improve it on a monthly basis.”
MyCO2 footrprint asks just five easy questions:
- how many people there are in your household;
- how many kilometres a month your household drives and in what kind of car (small, medium or large);
- what’s your household air travel in kms;
- how much you spend a month on electricity; and
- how many kgs of gas you use.
It will then calculate how many kgs of carbon your household produces per month; how much carbon you as a member of that household contribute per month, which you can compare to an average user; and what your approximate cost to the environment is per month in rands. (This calculation is based on figures derived from the Stern Report, the WWF says.) Then it’ll tell you whether you’re doing well or not and offer a useful energy saving tip.
A very handy feature is that it remembers your data so next time you use the calculator you can compare your results, this is a quick and easy way to measure how lifestyle changes you and your family make benefit the environment.
The WWF hopes the MyCO2Print will appeal to young people in particular. “We envisage school teachers using it as a innovative tool in the classroom to educate on climate change and the environment,” says Cramer.
To try out the MyCO2Print calculator, sms CO2 to 34017. Your phone must be wap-enabled. SMSs are charged at R2.00.