Carbon conscious: how one man is shrinking his footprint – SFGate
“There were many insights that may not have been new to us, but they were to him,” he added. “For example, cheese causes a lot of environmental damage.”
With the help of Finkbeiner and two environmental groups, Gratzel set about shrinking that footprint. This included improving the insulation on his 18th-century house, getting rid of his SUV and traveling mostly by train and bike.
“I don’t fly at all anymore. I’ve reduced my consumption to an absolute minimum and changed my eating habits,” he said. His current annual emissions are about six or seven tons per year.
The final stage is the most daunting: Finkbeiner and his team have calculated that Gratzel’s lifetime emissions amount to almost 1,180 tons of CO2.
Scientists believe an annual budget of about 2 tons per person is sustainable, meaning Gratzel is way over budget.
“I’ve got a lot to make up for,” he said. Planting trees — a common means of offsetting emissions — would require Gratzel to grow enough oaks and beeches to cover 100 hectares (almost 250 acres) of land.