Reducing your Carbon footprint can be your contribution towards fighting Global warming that can make a significant change.
The word Climate Change has seen immense popularity in the past few decades. This is primarily because of the growing concerns of citizens around the globe regarding environmental degradation and irreversible damage being caused to the planet. Carbon Footprint is an essential terminology often mentioned in the same context.
The IPCC report 2022 has warned that the world will most likely reach the 1.5°C level in about just 2 decades and drastic cuts in carbon emissions are the only way to save our planet. According to another report, some critical properties and road networks in major metropolitan coast cities like Mumbai, Kochi, Mangalore, Chennai, Vishakapatnam, and Thiruvananthapuram will be drowned by 2050 because of the rise in sea level. The major reason behind this is Global warming, which is consequently accelerated by carbon emissions and greenhouse gases.
Carbon Footprint is nothing but the number of greenhouse gases that humans generate through various activities that we undertake. It also includes carbon dioxide and methane.
What is Carbon Footprint?
Humans through the innumerable activities that we undertake produce carbon emissions that are ultimately harmful to our environment. Therefore, carbon footprint may be defined as the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions made by a person, an event organized, or an organization, in a particular place through some services or products.
It is measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). For example, globally, the average carbon footprint of a person is close to 4 tons whereas it is 16 tons for a person in the United States. In comparison, the average footprint of an Indian is meagerly at 0.56 tons. Thus, not everyone and everywhere the carbon footprint is the same. There are a variety of reasons which impacts the carbon footprint of an individual.
Causes behind the increasing carbon footprint and reasons why this increase is alarming
These gaseous emissions negatively affect Earth in ways more than one. Being the primary cause of human-induced climate change factors, it is extremely important we understand why the carbon footprint has been increasing at an alarming rate and why it must be curtailed at all costs.
- Pollution levels and beyond – Carbon footprint contributes to pollution. It not only adds to the existing toxic elements in the environment but also leads to harmful acid rain. Acid rain is harmful to forests, the lungs of our planet as well as aquatic life.
It dissolves the essential nutrients of the soil once it seeps down the ground such as magnesium and calcium. It also releases aluminium into the soil which prohibits trees from taking up water. As a result, the soil loses its nutrients and its quality worsens over time.
- Impacts aquatic life – Carbon footprint also disturbs aquatic life by contributing to ocean solidification. It also makes the waters of several water bodies toxic and unfit for aquatic life.
- Global Temperature – Carbon dioxide, which is an essential component of carbon footprint increases the Earth’s temperature, making it warmer. If this increase is not controlled and reduced in time, Earth will soon become hotter and unliveable.
Ways to reduce personal carbon footprint
Small changes lead to huge achievements. Since all humans have had their fair share in the increase of carbon footprint, it makes sense that all of us make efforts to reduce it as well. It seems difficult to cut carbon emissions worldwide but on a personal level, we can each take several steps to reduce personal carbon.
We are about to mention some of the simplest yet the most effective ways of reducing personal carbon. The biggest contributors to the carbon footprint include food, consumption, transportation, and different sources of energy. Naturally, we need to change the ways we deal with these elements.
- Watch your meals– Meat consumption is a severe issue and livestock emits a huge amount of greenhouse gases. Switching to a vegetarian diet or reducing meat intake can help us reduce personal carbon to a great extent. Beef remains the most significant contributor to carbon footprint, so reducing its consumption shall prove to be helpful.
- Transportation– Sustainable transport goes a long way. Something as simple as quitting personal vehicles and using public transportation more often can not only help reduce your carbon footprint but also keeps your health in check. Walking instead of using cars or bikes for small distances. Using local buses or shared taxis over personal cars is a good option too.
- Energy efficient appliances- Almost all houses on the planet use innumerable electrical appliances. Right from the lightbulb, we use to products like refrigerators and air conditioners contribute to the increasing carbon footprint. Change your appliances if they’re too old or broken as they require more energy. Choose energy-efficient appliances when purchasing new ones. Switch off the electronic products when not in use. Stay without the air conditioner whenever possible.
- Change your gadgets mindfully- Every few days, there’s a new smartphone or laptop. While there will always be a cooler phone Or a computer set, there will never be another Earth. At least not in the near future. Changing gadgets very frequently should be avoided. Get a new phone Or laptop only when needed.
- Recycle and Reuse- Recycle and reuse all. Products possible for as long as you can. Repeat your clothes, recycle your gadgets, and dispose of plastic bottles and electronic waste wisely. Ditch single-use plastic and go for sustainable fashion instead of fast-fashion clothes and jute bags instead.
These are the simplest, the easiest, and the cheapest contributions we can all make that will eventually make a huge difference. Slowly but surely, the difference would be visible.