Visualizing Your Carbon Footprint

The average person in an industrialized country emits one metric ton of carbon dioxide each month. Man, that’s a lot. At least, it sounds like a lot–but, as with many big, scary environmental statistics, it’s difficult to visualize precisely what that number means.

Not any longer. CO2 Cubes, an installation by the artist Alfio Bonanno and the architect Christophe Cornubert, makes it painfully clear just how much carbon dioxide we’re all producing. At 27 feet tall (and wide and deep), each Cube represents the amount of space occupied by the aforementioned metric ton of CO2 (which, depressingly, the average U.S. citizen emits in only two weeks). The Cubes will arrive in Copenhagen just in time for next week’s UN climate-change conference, where they will display a variety of real-time data and video streams on screens programmed by the designer Travis Threlkel of Obscura Digital.

The installation organizers hope to get individuals to reduce their carbon footprint by at least one metric ton a year–not an unrealistic goal. If you’re ready to get started, check out this list of simple things you can do to reduce your footprint now.

Related: In “Carbon Neutral Now,” James S. Russell looked at two recent architectural projects that combat climate change aggressively.

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