Let me explain to you why I chose the term “the traveling teacher” to describe myself.
Is it because I am traveling and teaching abroad? No, but I hope to some day! Instead, I drive locally (here in Arizona, U.S.A.) to teach. I am currently driving 20,000 miles (32,187 km) per year for work, not including vacations, conferences, etc. The circumference of Earth at the equator is 24,902 miles (40,075 km), so I am driving yearly a similar distance as the circumference of our planet.
I am not proud of this number.
I decided to check my carbon footprint this week because my current two passions are studying languages/language teaching and environmental conservation. My footprint viewed simultaneously with the latest IPCC report https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018, does not give a sunny prediction (well, maybe too sunny, forgive the quip) of our future here on planet Earth.
There are several websites to choose from that will calculate your carbon footprint. I chose the Nature Conservancy site https://www.nature.org. The carbon calculator asks for information about driving, flying, food consumption, and purchasing habits. I was better than average on my food consumption (I eat a primarily plant-based diet, not a lot of meat). I was better than average on my purchasing habits (I primarily shop at thrift stores). In spite of that, I am 80% worse than average due to my current driving habits.
My current travel footprint causes 28 tons of carbon dioxide to be released into our atmosphere. This number is hard for me to imagine. How much is 28 tons?
Well, according to http://onlygold.com:
28 metric tonnes of gold is worth $1,097,799,984.00. If had that much gold, I would retire and no longer have to travel to and from work.
And, according to an online calculator:
20 U.S. tons is 56,000 pounds.
But, how much is 56,000 pounds?
That would be me multiplied by 448.
Yes, 448 copies of me. I could basically fill my house with 448 copies of me. And, I alone am contributing yearly that much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It’s like a giant balloon filled with 448 copies of my body floating up into the atmosphere.
I alone am causing this destruction, and I am now painfully aware. What can I do?
Stay tuned, and I will talk about it in my next post.
Until then, I am signing out,
Wilhelmina Wanderlust, English teacher, tree-hugger and flower kisser