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 and Banks to invest in a clean, green, just economy.
We know the choices we make in our personal lives DO matter.
Many of us have been acting to reduce our carbon footprint as individuals. By signing up we become part of the COLLECTIVE community voice speaking together.

We’re on Instagram @communitycarbonchallenge

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.

Sign up here → Individual/Family | Business/Group

See who has already taken the pledge → Pledge List

2. Next, choose one action from each of the areas below to implement. Once you have that under your belt you can always return to select an additional action. We will be adding a *New* challenge item every 2 weeks. Have your children choose an action.

3. Fill out the Carbon Calculator (15 minutes once you have gathered your household data on this sheet). FYI: 1 tonne = 1,000 kilograms. Thank you to the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve for creating this important resource. (NB write down your results for comparison with your footprint a year from now.)
Bonus: your anonymous data will be included in the District of Muskoka’s ongoing community GHG inventory.

4. Invite your friends to join the challenge too.  Let’s ‘grow’ this challenge.
Learn more about carbon – here

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

Need a recipe, find our new “Quick N Delish” feature here.

  • *New* – The carbon footprint of food – I will think more about the carbon footprint of the food I eat.  FACT: 70% of the deforestation of the Amazon is to provide land for cattle ranches.  Source
  • *New* – Grow Your Own – “I will grow as much of my own food as I possibly can – a great way to save money, get fit, and reduce my carbon footprint.”  FACT: The average meal travels 1,200 kilometres from the farm to plateSource
  • *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

The Other 20%

  • *New* – Repair Everything –  I will repair whenever possible rather than throw away and replace.  FACT: 2020 was the year in which the weight of “human-made mass”—all the stuff we’ve built and accumulated—exceeded the weight of biomass on the planet.   Source
  • *New* – Shop Local –I will whenever possible buy the goods and services I need from a local business.  FACT: We all like to buy stuff online but Amazon alone generated 465 million pounds of fossil based plastic packaging waste in 2019 enough to circle the Earth 500 times (in the form of plastic air pillows)  Source

Child/Teen Actions

  • *New*- The Carbon Footprint of Getting Dressed I will buy fewer new clothes, repair what I have, and look for good used clothing. FACT:  Buying a used garment extends its life on average by 2.2 years, reducing its carbon, waste and water footprint by 73 percent.  Source
  • 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)