Community Carbon Challenge

Did you know that 80% of your personal carbon footprint falls into the following three areas?

How You Power Your Home | How You Travel | What You Eat

We recognize that climate change is a global issue and that we must pressure all levels of government to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and invest in a clean, green, just economy.
However, the choices you make in your personal life DO matter in reducing the world’s carbon footprint.  No action or person is too small to make a difference.


Seasonal and Year-round Residents! Take the Carbon Challenge! Create YOUR Personal Action Plan! Reduce your carbon footprint by 8% per year to reach the goal of 50% reduction by 2030.

How Does It Work?

1. First, pledge to reduce your carbon footprint over the next ten years. (We are asking the District of Muskoka government to do the same.)

Sign up here → Individual/Family | Business/Group

See who has already taken the pledge → Pledge List

2. Next, fill out the Carbon Calculator (15 minutes). You will be given your output in tonnes. FYI: 1 tonne = 1,000 kilograms. Thank you to the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve for creating and sharing this important resource. (At this time the tracker can not recall your individual results, write them down for future reference)

Bonus: your anonymous data will be included in the community greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory currently being conducted by the District of Muskoka.

3. Choose one action from each of the areas below to implement this month. Once you have that under your belt you can always return to select an additional action. Have your children choose one of the child/teen actions.

(We realise the calculator covers only the first two areas comprehensively – energy and transportation. We have added food to our challenge as a vital area that can be easily addressed on a personal basis.)

4. Invite your friends to join the challenge too. A little friendly rivalry helps keep all of us going! Let’s see if we can ‘grow’ this challenge.

How You Power Your Home

  • *New* Energy Vampires – I will unplug electronic devices when they are not being used. FACT: The average Canadian home has 25 or more electronic devices that use phantom power, producing about 157 kg CO2 e, costing about $150 a year.  source 
  • I will wash laundry in cold water. FACT: 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is from heating the water. Save an average of 250 kg CO2 a year. Source
  • I will hang the washing outside to dry and in winter air-dry laundry on racks in a spare room. FACT: Based on 150 cycles a year.  Save about 153 kg CO2 Source
  • I will reduce my cell phone use one hour per day. FACT: One hour of cell phone use a day for 1 year emits more than 1 tonne CO2e per year – the equivalent of flying from London to New York, one way, in economy class. Source
  • I will turn down my thermostat 1-2⁰C. FACT: 1⁰C can reduce your energy consumption by 8%. For an average household gas bill of 12,500kWh  save 184 kg CO2 each year. Source

How You Travel

  • *New*The impact of tires on carbon footprint I will check my tire pressure at least once a month.  FACT: Driving your vehicle with just one tire underinflated by 56 kPa (8 psi) will increase your fuel consumption by 4%, costing you money and releasing extra emissions into the atmosphere.   Source
  • I will reduce my vehicle trips to town. Doing 9 trips instead of 10 means you have lowered your footprint by 10%! FACT: Every litre of gas burned creates 3 kg of CO2. Source
  • I will carpool, walk or bike when I can. FACT: Automobiles and light trucks account for about 11 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Source
  • I will drive at or below 100 km/hr. FACT: Driving at 100 km/hr creates 20% less CO2e and uses 20% less fuel than driving at 120 km/hr and saves you money. Source

What You Eat

  • *New*The “Foodprint” of Food Packaging.  I will buy foods with less packaging when I grocery shop. FACT: The carbon footprint of plastic (LDPE or PET, polyethylene) is about 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic. Source
  • I will drink tap water. FACT: Bottled water uses 2,000 times more energy than tap water. Source
  • I will buy locally grown food whenever possible. Does that apple come from your backyard, Ontario, BC or New Zealand? FACT: Long-distance, large-scale transportation of food consumes large quantities of fossil fuels. It is estimated that we currently put almost 10 kcal of fossil fuel energy into our food system for every 1 kcal of energy we get as food. Source
  • I will shift to a plant-based meal once a week. Over a year this will keep 42 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere. FACT: CO2e created per kg of beef 27 kg, lamb 39.2 kg, pork 12.1 kg, chicken 6.9 kg. Source
  • I will send no food waste to the landfill at least one day a week. FACT: If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world, behind China and the United States. Source

Child/Teen Actions

  • I will turn off lights every time I leave a room. FACT:  If you are out of the room more than 23 seconds, it’s still going to save you money and energy. Source
  • I will walk or bike to school one day a week. FACT: Did you know October is also International Walk to School Month? If you’re feeling up to the challenge, consider celebrating active transportation all month long. Source
  • I will pack only what I promise to eat in my lunch kit. FACT: Food waste generates 3.3 billions tons of carbon dioxide, which accelerates global climate change. Source
  • I will take shorter showers. FACT: Spending 1 minute less in the shower can save 23 kg CO2  a year (based on one shower a day and a 9kW shower). Source
  • I will reduce my cell phone use one hour per day. FACT: One hour of cell phone use a day for 1 year emits more than 1 tonne CO2e per year – the equivalent of flying from London to New York, one way, in economy class. Source

Add Your Ideas To The List

We invite you to help grow and develop this project. Click the link below and fill out a short form to add your ideas.

Grow the Challenge Ideas List

Thank you!


Here’s a fun mini-quiz from the New York Times:   Think You’re Making Good Climate Choices? Expect the Unexpected. Take the mini-quiz here.

Understanding and Calculating Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions Webinar

This informative webinar is not necessary for completing the Carbon calculator but is well worth your time commitment.

Join GBBR’s Benjamin John, Climate Change & Energy Specialist, and grow your climate literacy as he discusses everything you need to know about greenhouse gases (GHGs) and your carbon footprint. You’ll also learn how to calculate your personal greenhouse gas emissions using GBBR’s carbon calculator and what your results mean. (50 minutes)