Have you heard about Carbon Footprint?
This notion is still novel to many and not much talked about. However, the current scenario has changed. Now many people, groups and local governments have begun talking about carbon footprint and ways to reduce it. Do you know even you contribute to carbon footprint in many ways?
Amrutam brings to you a crucial topic "Carbon Footprint" and here's everything that you need to know about it.
The term “Carbon Footprint” means the amount of carbon generated by an individual or product either directly or indirectly. Essentially it is the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide released into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Causes of Carbon Footprint
The major causes are electricity, transportation, industry, agriculture, and forestry. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.
Industrialization – The advent of industrialization brought about the continuous rise of CO2 at an alarming rate. Previously, there were forests surrounding all over which were destroyed for urbanization. As a result, there are not enough trees to absorb the amount of CO2 produced in the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, trains & planes.
Modern Lifestyle – So, our homes equipped with latest power-driven equipment and cars are a major source of the carbon footprint that adds up to our total carbon footprint. Air travel has no doubt become much affordable but the emission of CO2 from the aircraft is about 90kg of CO2 per hour. The CO2 emission from petrol & diesel is estimated to be about 2.4kg per litre. Electricity productions generate the second largest share of greenhouse gas emissions.
Calculate your Carbon Footprint!
How many miles do you travel by car, bus, train and planes?
How much energy do you consume in your home?
How much do you spend shopping and on your diet?
The above questions are some which we need to think and take necessary action soon in order to reduce our carbon footprint.
According to the EPA, an average 4-person household produces 83,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
How do we reduce it?
Going zero waste is the only way to combat climate change and reduce carbon footprint. You might have come across the three R’s-Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. Zero wasters follow these 3 R’s strictly as much as possible.
Reduce – Be mindful of what you buy. Avoid purchasing plastics, paper products and opt for reusables.
Reuse – Repair or upcycle whatever you can.
Recycle – Recycle paper, plastic, glass or metal that’s present in your life.
- Avoid using petrol/diesel vehicles and opt for more eco-friendly ways like biking, walking. Cars put out a lot of exhaust which pollutes the air & the toxins emitted are also harmful to our health. So, let's challenge ourselves to drive less and bike more. Wherever and whenever possible walk. Walking helps burn calories and it’s a good workout for you too than hitting the gym. You may consider public transport for commuting or carpooling or ride sharing, this helps in lesser traffic congestions too. You might be surprised to know that air travel by business class is responsible for almost 3 times as many emissions as economy class whereas first class may result in 9 times more carbon emissions than economy class.
- Water must be conserved and our water bodies should be protected. Did you know 96.5% of Earth’s water is too salty and not fit for human consumption? The remaining two-thirds fresh water is in the form of polar ice, glaciers & snow. Even the meltdown won’t be of use to humans, as it will end up as sea water. Therefore, it's quintessential to cherish the water we have. Use less water while brushing, bathing etc. Avoid water wastage. Prepare water reservoirs or adopt rain harvesting methods. Already, our oceans are polluted with plastics, oil spills, etc which is affecting the aquatic life & ocean clean up is another uphill task and needs immediate actions. So, let's preserve the existing water bodies and not pollute them.
- Let’s switch to clean, sustainable energy such as wind, solar, water and geothermal power which are eco-friendly and efficient. You can install solar panels on your house roof; that can be used to heat water and other purposes. Try to consume less electricity. Switch to electric vehicles than traditional ones. In household appliances, Refrigerators release a lot of CO2, average 726.9 pounds of CO2 per household. Always use cold water to wash your clothes instead of hot water, which will help save 500 pounds of CO2 each year & also save electricity. Opt for energy efficient lighting, appliances, equipment, etc.
- Control your diet. Although still, research is going on what’s the most eco-friendly diet, most of them suggest cutting down on meat and going vegetarian or vegan as the best option. Meat especially red meat production utilizes a lot of feed, water and land. Moreover, it has 100 times more environmental impacts. Even beef supposedly gives off more than 6 pounds of CO2 in a serving. Eating veg food reduces an individual’s carbon footprint and also a good way to stay healthy. Start buying local produce. Reduce your food wastage, plan ahead, reuse leftovers with innovative recipes, and freeze the excess. Another good option is composting. Prepare a compost pit at your backyard which can be used for several purposes like gardening etc.
- Shopping is the most common thing where people spend a lot on clothes, accessories and other items that we might actually not use much later. Clothing or fashion is something that’s uncontrollable. One wants to dress up as per the latest fashion trends. The glitch is fashion is trendy but fast moving. A new pattern comes in the market and is out within a few months, the next follows; that’s how we buy clothes and then dump it when it's out of fashion or you get bored or the colour fades, etc. Imagine so much of clothes from your wardrobe gets dumped into landfills and they produce methane as they decompose.
Let us not #foool ourselves with an idea of a luxurious lifestyle that does more harm than good. #Foool no more by spending lavishly on fashion, vehicles, etc that is sure to burn not only your pocket but also our environment. Climate change, global warming is real and we are experiencing it in present times. The environment is changing drastically and rapidly due to humans. Now is the time to awaken ourselves and become more responsible towards the society, the environment and our planet Earth. Each and every move of yours will either directly or indirectly affect the environment, so watch your every step.
Well, as you can see, there are plenty of ways to contribute to a healthier planet. Reducing your family’s carbon footprint is quite easy if you make conscious decisions and changes in your daily routine. Also, make wise choices as a consumer. Let’s be cautious of what’s happening around us and what can we do to prevent, protect and safeguard our Mother Nature!