What Makes Up A Carbon Footprint?
As the 2020 Presidential election draws to a close, the highly contested debate over climate change rages on. As we continue to discuss a topic that centers on one of the greatest non-war related threats to our planet, it’s important we understand the terminology being used. One of the most commonly used phrases we hear is Carbon Footprint. Today, we are going to talk about what it means, what it looks like out in the real world, and the various ways you can reduce yours in your everyday life.
The official definition states that a carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. That is a mouthful! In simpler terms, it’s the measure of how much of a negative environmental impact is caused by things such as individual actions, large-scale events being hosted, or services and products being made by an organization.
Reducing your carbon footprint means you are taking an intentional effort to change any habits that produce greenhouse gas emissions and in turn hurt the environment. Let’s put it another way. If you step out of your car on a rainy day and walk through the mud on your way to the house, then you will track mud all over your floors. However, if you choose to take the slightly longer way to ensure you only walk on the pavement, you won’t track in the mud. It may have taken you a bit longer to arrive home, but it’s still better than spending time having to clean up your floors.
Now, let’s connect this to travel that produces carbon emissions. If you were planning a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the quickest route might be to drive an SUV by yourself. However, that will also produce a higher carbon footprint. An alternative method would be to take public transportation or carpool with another person. In that case, the carbon emissions being produced would be shared by multiple people instead of each person producing their own separately.
Understanding what makes up a carbon footprint and the importance of reducing it is only half the battle. If we as a people are going to make this a reality, we have to understand what human actions produce the most harm. Then, we have to begin to make a concentrated effort to adopt new habits and processes that will start the trend of drastically reducing our footprints for good.
#1 – Individual
Reducing your carbon footprint starts with the way you choose to live your life. The first way to accomplish this is to ensure you drive a gas-saving car and that it is properly maintained. To take this a step further, you can take public transportation whenever possible. Second, examine the appliances in your home to ensure they are energy efficient. We are not saying you must throw out anything that is not, but rather keep this in mind when it is time to replace them. Lastly, eating less meat has been known to have a positive impact as well. Not only are you saving the environment, but now you are eating healthier as well!
#2 – Businesses
While individual action is key, it’s businesses large and small that can have the biggest impact. Any company can begin its campaign towards reducing their carbon footprint by going paperless. Technological advances have already made keeping paper records obsolete and a waste of precious budget dollars. It may surprise you to learn that your website is leaving a footprint of its own. In 2010, Greenpeace released a report encouraging companies to switch to a green web hosting service. This is a change that will most likely save you money and will not disrupt the day-to-day happenings of your company.
#3 – Events
Just like an event filled with people and happenings leaves hundreds of regular footprints, the same thing can be said for the carbon ones as well. The most impactful change your event can make it switching to renewable energy to power things like lights, music, and large projector screens. You can also make a concentrated effort to cut back on the amount of food you order to avoid waste. Lastly, encourage your attendees to take public transportation as much as possible. Not only do these suggestions reduce your overall carbon footprint, but they will save you and your attendees money as well.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Climate change is a threat to this planet and must be taken seriously. If you believe that you as an individual cannot do anything you would be incorrect. You can start by making conscious choices towards reducing your personal footprint. Then, you can work with your employer and other organizations and educate them on the ways they can do the same.
This is not an issue that will be overturned overnight but a problem that can be solved by a long-term consistent strategy executed by everyone involved. If you are ready to get involved, reduce your carbon footprint and work towards helping others do the same, please visit us at our official website, www.carbonforest.org