When I was at EVO, I was tasked with creating a comprehensive environmental impact model, one that went WAY beyond the regular carbon calculator drill and incorporated a wide array of impacts — land use, waste, water and toxics. Several months of number crunching later, the Total Environmental Impact was born. It measures impacts based on CO2 as well as associated land & water use and pollution impacts.

For ease of reference, I’ve included the summary impacts chart for the “Average American.”

Autos and Food are tied for 1st place:

Home Energy Use and Home Materials are close behind:

And 4 smaller "lifestyle" categories together make up another 20% of the impact pie:

Read more about the Total Environmental Impact model.

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.