Quick question: while traveling, toasting to the New Year and opening last minute gifts, did you calculate the number of trees it would take to make up for all the emissions your car poured into the atmosphere?
We’re guessing you didn’t. But that’s OK. Because Google decided to do it for you.
Google Maps has created what they call the ‘Carbon Footprint’ for Google Maps. This environmental add-on tool automatically estimates the total CO2 emissions for driving routes suggested by Google Maps.
What does that mean in plain English? Basically, it means that there is a feature on Google Maps that tells you how many trees you’d need to plant and how long they’d need to grow to offset the CO2 emission. The tool reminds users to take routes and modes of transportation that cut down on carbon.
Not only that. In addition to seeing how much you’re releasing, it also lets you see how much CO2 you are reducing by choosing clean commuting. You get a chance to see your daily impact on the environment (it creates a “Carbon ID,” if you will).
The perks of choosing alternate methods of transportation and being cognitive of your emissions behavior promote clean living through clean commuting choices. Insurance companies love when you drive less, and so does Mother Earth.
This is not to say that you must become a carbon geek. The goal is to inspire commuters to bike, walk, and carpool or take public transit. The mode of your transportation, length, and time may not seem like a big deal—but just like climate change, it is. So next time you travel or need directions, don’t forget to compare your carbon footprint while you find your way around.