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Find out your carbon footprint the local way, win prizes!

Screen capture from City of Austin Website

According to the city's own Austin Climate Protection Program site, the overarching goal of their program is to make Austin the leading city in the nation in the fight against climate change.

They work towards this goal by implementing a variety of actions.

Number 5 on their list is  "Go Neutral," where creating a carbon calculator specific to Austin was the next and first step.

Finally, this week, ACPP launched a local carbon footprint calculator – a measurement of your very own greenhouse-gas emissions from daily activities, tailor made for Austin residents.

The ACPP version trumps generic calculators by allowing city of Austin utility customers to directly upload their data, using their billing account number, for electricity, water, wastewater, and solid waste.

Once you calculate your footprint, they offer tips on how to lower it although the site provides no local carbon offsets available for purchase since the city's "green fund" for local carbon offset projects is still in the works.

Give it a try, there are two calculators you can choose from– a one-minute and a comprehensive version– both available at coolaustin.org.  

Finding your local carton footprint right away is a good idea because, to encourage Austin residents to create and maintain a user account, the Austin Carbon Footprint Calculator offers now a rewards program providing chances to win prizes. Potential goodies include SXSW wristbands, a compost bin, a bike repair kit, and a solar backpack. Good luck!

That was my one minute footprint up there on the picture, by the way, since I eat little meat and I don't have to drive to work or to school because they are within walking distance from my house, my carnbon footprint is pretty low. What always gets me is the traveling when I visit my family in Spain.

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