Awareness about the importance of sustainability and taking care of our environment is at an all-time high.
Our carbon footprint plays a big part in improving our environment, but it is not necessarily the clearest of concepts.
So to help with that, in this article we aim to answer five of the most important questions about carbon footprint. We hope this will help you understand better this important concept.
Read on to learn more about carbon footprint.
1. What is carbon footprint?
Generally speaking, carbon footprint is the total of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced by human activities, both directly and indirectly.
As for the origin of the term, it came from the accounting concept of ecological footprint, developed in the 1990s and is part of a family of footprint indicators (including water and the land footprint). Together they help to determine how much our planet can renew in comparison to our demands for different resources.
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2. Why is it important?
So why does our carbon footprint matter? It matters because a larger footprint means more pollution and negative impacts on our environment.
The larger our carbon footprint is, the harder it becomes for Earth to renew itself, and the worse the negative impacts on our environment and climate.
Challenges like global warming and pollution are continuing to get worse because our carbon footprint is high.
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3. What is carbon offsetting?
In order to deal with the increasing rate of carbon footprint, scientists and governments devised a way to reduce carbon footprint, and that is where carbon offsetting comes in.
Carbon offsetting is the process of investing in environmental projects that help to reduce the impact of our carbon footprint. Basically, it is a practical way to deal with our carbon footprint and help reduce its negative impacts.
Let’s face it, as desirable as it is to be completely “carbon neutral” (it’s where your carbon footprint is effectively nil), it’s not always practical. Our technology is evolving to become more environmentally friendly, but there’s still a long way to go.
So to minimise the impact of all the GHGs our activities create, carbon offsetting involves paying a certain amount towards projects that do things like plant more trees, etc.
The scheme is mainly used by larger organisations, especially in the manufacturing sector, but there are also carbon offsetting schemes available for individuals.
4. How to calculate your carbon footprint?
So how can you find out what your personal carbon footprint is?
There are ways of manually calculating it, but here is an easier way – use a calculator!
WWF has a great resource for this that is worth checking out – WWF’s Carbon Footprint calculator.
5. How can you reduce your personal carbon footprint?
There are lots of ways to reduce our personal carbon footprint. Here are five easy ideas to get you started:
- Reuse – Reusing things means you cut down on your waste, and consumption, and is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Not everything we throw away is obsolete. Why not try your hand at upcycling? That is a fun way to reuse things, and it saves you money and really helps the environment. Here’s a website that can help you get started with upcycling and give you ideas – upcyclethat.com.
- Recycle – Recycling is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint. It helps by sending less to landfills, and also by reducing the number of things that need to be manufactured from scratch. For instance, recycled paper generates a lot less GHGs than creating paper from scratch.
- Cycle – Opting for a bicycle over your car or public transport really helps cut down on your personal carbon footprint. And it gives you a really good workout – win win!
- Walk – Yes cycling is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but walking is even better, as the carbon footprint it creates is much lower than that of cycling. So if you are just going around the corner, opting for a walk is the most environmentally friendly option.
- Eat less meat – Meat production is one of the biggest contributors to our current GHG emissions. Cutting out meat from your diet can have a big impact on reducing your carbon footprint – in fact, cutting out beef can reduce your carbon footprint by a whopping 20%! Worth looking into won’t you say.
These five ideas will get you started, but check out this article for 50 more ideas on reducing your carbon footprint.
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Nearly everything we do releases GHGs, and each and every one of us has a carbon footprint.
We can all do our part in reducing the overall carbon footprint, by lowering our individual carbon footprints. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas on how to do that, and why it is important.
Improving the state of the world is going to take everyone’s effort, so let’s all do our part to make this world a better place.
Did we miss anything? Do you have any tips to share on reducing our carbon footprint?
Share your tips and thoughts in the comments below.
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