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Colour graphite sketch of the front three quarters of a bicycle and the legs and arm of a person riding it
Illustration by David Sparshott

What Are You Doing to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?

We asked 100 U of T students. This is what they told us

As part of its Climate Positive plan, the University of Toronto has committed to reducing its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Students tell us they are also taking action – by cutting back on single-use plastics, for example, and using other ways besides driving to get around. Surveys have found that climate change is a top-five issue for Canadian youth. Among the students’ “other” responses: choosing more environmentally friendly products, cooking at home more often and conserving electricity and water. Diljot Badessha, a fourth-year student at U of T Mississauga, says she recently started composting at home to reduce food waste. “Doing that small task doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’m proud of it and I think I’m helping.”


Using less plastic and paper, recycling more


Taking public transit


Walking and biking





This highly unscientific poll of 100 U of T students was conducted across the three campuses in January 2023.

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  1. 3 Responses to “ What Are You Doing to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint? ”

  2. Danny Harvey says:

    It seems that the single most effective thing that can be done at the individual level - eating less animal food products, beef and dairy in particular - has been left out. Both are large sources of methane emissions in particular (1 kg of methane being equivalent to 26-85 kg of CO2, depending on the time horizon under consideration).

  3. Carmine Vescio says:

    I would like to add to the responses about how we can help mitigate climate change:

    1. Buy local food and grow your own in a backyard (if you have one)
    2. Repair and recycle, creating less waste
    3. If you need a car, drive a hybrid or fully electric one (if it's affordable to you)
    4. Eat less meat
    5. Conserve heat, hydro and water

    We can all contribute to a more sustainable future by doing a small amount!

  4. A. Ziegler says:

    We spent $150,000 (of our own money - no subsidies) installing 40kW of solar panels and two heat pumps, as well as upgrading our home with low-energy consumption devices. This saves us $10,000 a year -- equivalent to a taxable investment that guarantees 10 per cent return per year.

    Then we bought a Tesla for $90,000. This purchase saves $6,000 in fuel and maintenance over a conventional vehicle. The incremental cost of the Tesla over a comparable car (without the performance) is $40,000. Therefore the savings over 10 years is equivalent to a taxable investment of six per cent.

    Bottom line: even without subsidies, going green makes economic sense