We stand at a climate change tipping point. Learning how to reduce our carbon footprint is increasingly important. Our planet is getting hotter & storms are more severe. Wildlife & plants are endangered. We are witnessing record-breaking floods, melting glaciers, devastating hurricanes, brutally intense heat waves.
What is our carbon footprint? How can we measure & reduce it? Calculating carbon footprint is a way of measuring the mark an event, an organisation, a person or a product leaves on our environment. Scientists define it as a measure of total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) emissions of a defined population, system or activity.
When we drive a car, we can’t just measure the carbon emission of burning oil or gas. We have to also consider the energy to extract fossil fuels from the ground, pollution by refining, transporting, C02 of making that car.
From the food we eat to phones, everything has a carbon footprint. We can encourage an economy with less food miles, less energy-devouring production, less deforestation. Do we have to rip mountains, pollute rivers? Can we reduce the amount of garbage, plastic pollution, the inevitable land-fills that release greenhouse gases? Recycling & eco-friendly product packaging helps. Fuel-efficient vehicles, responsible travel, eco-hotels?
Aviation accounts for 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Slow travel on trains? When tap water flows, can we remember the urgent water crisis faced by humanity? Switching to LED bulbs saves energy. Affordable renewable energy for homes – solar or wind power with better insulation. Heating or cooling homes accounts for 50% of energy.
Simple carbon footprint calculators – Global Footprint Network, Terrapass, CarbonFootprint.com, EPA, The Nature Conservancy, Carbon Fund, WWF, Ecological Footprint, Earth Day, Conservation International.
These calculators help us figure out how to counteract our own carbon footprint with carbon offsets.