Do the math
For every ton of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere, we lose 32 square feet of Arctic sea ice.
If you live in the U.S., you are accountable for about 17 tons of CO2 a year. That’s roughly 1.4 tons a month, or one and a half Rose-and-Jack rafts every 30 days. Multiply that by 300 million people in the States, plus Europe, plus Australia, plus … you get the picture. In the last 30 years, we’ve lost enough ice to cover Texas twice over.
Thirty-two square feet per ton is a scary, but useful, statistic. It nails a number to our individual actions, the consequences of which might otherwise seem abstract, says Dirk Notz of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany.
For example, Notz offers, a round trip flight from New York to London knocks out 32 square feet of summer sea ice “for every single seat” — something to factor in when you’re calculating the price of a ticket home.