My journey to becoming Citizen Zero

Us humans, we sure don’t like difficult realities, its easier to keep calm and carry on, blindly hoping things will be ok. The environmental movement has been loudly telling us now for over 50 years of the harm that we are doing to the planet. It’s always been a tomorrow’s problem, something the next generation can tackle.

The problem is metaphorically, tomorrow never comes and we are suddenly being rudely awakened to the alarming fact that sustainability-wise tomorrow did come and by now it was yesterday. We have to act now, not to prevent a catastrophy, but to minimize it and we all have key parts to play, both as an an organization and individually.

Now of course we could continue as humans do, following our instincts to worry about the here and the now, not wanting take the painful steps and absorb the sacrifices that are necessary to change our course. We can cry out ‘any change I make will make no difference’ or kids ourselves that our recycling of plastic, glass and cardboard is somehow going to be enough.

But we are better than that and our lives have to change. Change is a difficult word, change can be scary, its a step into the unknown, but change can be also be good, change can be rewarding, change can lead to a happy, good quality of life, just one based around different sets of priorities, values and expectations.

Colart has set itself on an 8 year journey to carbon neutrality by 2030 and be under no illusion this will be hard, it will involve significant adaptation and sacrifice, far more than any of us yet fully understand.

I am passionate about us achiving our goals and to help guide, understand and explore the changes that will be neccessary, I’m setting myself a goal this year to make my life net-zero which I intend to document here in a series of articles that explore the issues, inform about the journey, challange our views and even entertain a little.

So where to start! I’ve decided my first step needs to be to calculate the impact my family have as knowing this guides the steps that can be taken. This isn’t going to be pretty, we are not good eco-citizens, we have an old poorly insultated house, I have lots of sheds in my garden that I have to keep warm in the winter, we eat meat with every meal and we create a fair amount of food waste. On the plus side we have moved to electric cars, recently fitted some solar panels and buy all of our electricity from 100% renewable sources.

To calculate our impact we are using the WWF carbon footprint calculator which you can find here: If you want to explore your own impact, it only takes 5 minutes and is  super easy to fill out.

I will be using the results of this calcuation for measuring improvement. A very similar exercise is currently underway within Colart to create an overall calculation for the business and you may well be asked to contribute towards this important audit.

Here are my results:

On top of this number, I will add a further 33%  to take into account the extra costs of heating my sheds and powering the computers I use for home working, giving a total of 16.8 tonnes of CO2 per member of my family or 67 tonnes overall.

In my next article we will explore carbon offsetting and how with the swipe of a credit card I could (and in fact will) make myself carbon neutral but also explore why this is only the start of the net-zero journey and not the end.

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