Climate change and global warming are the two problems that have been slowly depleting the earth. However, this is just the consequence of our own actions. The news is filled with the incidents of global temperature rise, the rise of sea levels, extinction of certain species, and there is a lot more to the list. According to NOAA’s 2020 Annual Climate Report, the combined land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit ( 0.08 degrees Celsius) per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase since 1981 (0.18°C / 0.32°F) has been more than twice that rate. These are the signs of our environment suffering because of us. As it turns out, these consequences of global warming and climate change can prove fatal for the entire human race and even cause our extinction. One of the major reasons for the increase in these problems is carbon footprint.
What is the Carbon footprint?
According to WHO, a carbon footprint is a measure of the impact your activities have on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced through the burning of fossil fuels and is expressed as a weight of CO2 emissions produced in tones.
A carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated by a person, event, organization, or product. China is the world’s largest CO2 emitter. India’s carbon footprint accounts for 6.81 per cent of the world’s overall CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
Carbon dioxide is generated as a byproduct of the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and wood. Although you may not be loading fuels into a burner on a regular basis, you may be using a variety of these fuels without even realizing it. Consider the petrol that fuels your car and emits tons of carbon dioxide every time you drive.
As a result, any time you drive to work or home, turn on the AC, or even buy a burger – since cooking requires energy as well – your carbon footprint rises. Since carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, it contributes to global warming. As a result, our exposure to carbon emissions will have a negative global effect.
Here are 11 ways that can help in reducing Carbon footprint:
- Now that summer’s here, all of us will put no thought while switching on ACs. However, we can reduce our carbon footprint by simply changing the set temperature. Set the air conditioner to 24-26°C with the fan on since the perfect comfort temperature for summer is 24°C-26°C. Set the temperature to save money on electricity and reduce your carbon footprint.
- A simple thing as composting can help a deal in reducing greenhouse gases emission. Composting the waste is important because garbage contributes significantly to the emission of carbon-based greenhouse gases (such as methane) that lead to global climate change.
- In this world full of hustle-bustle, most people choose to save their time and take private vehicles to their work, or flights to shorter destinations. However, if one uses public transportation such as buses or railways, and reduces flying to shorter distances, it will help the environment because it is the leading source of CO2 emissions, which warms the atmosphere.
- We all love dining out but a leisure and fun thing as dining out in restaurants can cause a lot of impact on the planet. According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), Indian diners eat out approximately seven times per month. The restaurant industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to its effect on global climate change, from the resources necessary to operate a venue to food waste and packaging. It is not only healthier to eat at home, but it is also better for the environment and your wallet.
- Assisting in the reduction of energy consumption is an important part of lowering the carbon footprint. To do so, switch off and unplug any appliances that aren’t in use, reduce the amount of heat and air conditioning, and take advantage of as much natural light as possible by rising and sleeping early. This will save the planet and the bucks in your pocket!
- Using locally and responsibly grown food is a great sustainable step to reduce the carbon footprint. Buying locally grown food reduces the amount of transportation and, as a result, greenhouse gas emissions used to bring the food to our plate. Having our goods manufactured locally means the same thing. One can even start growing few vegetables on their own. The items would be organic and sustainable and what better satisfaction than to reap the fruits of one’s own hard work!
- Since paper is made from trees and cutting down trees raise greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, one should reduce on-paper printing, or print both sides. Prefer automatic duplex (two-sided) printing; it will cut the paper waste in half.
- Reducing our waste helps a lot in reducing our carbon footprint. Anything from clothes to single-use plastic bottles to spoiled food falls into this category. Purchasing according to need and buying just what we require, donating used goods to charities, and reusing and recycling any store-bought containers or other materials.
- What better way to reduce carbon footprint than planting? However, one must keep in mind that CO2 absorption varies by plant. Some plants absorb more CO2 than others. Learn which plants thrive in your region and can help in absorbing the most greenhouse gases. New saplings, on average, consume more CO2 than older plants (although the latter store more CO2 than the former).
- Dry laundry on the line since typical fabric dryers use the same amount of energy as a refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer combined. And energy comes from coal-fired power plants.
- Believe it or not, shopping clothes at leading brands that promote fast fashion culture is doing more harm to the planet than good. There’s no doubt everyone loves buying and wearing new clothes, but because of the resources used in the processing, packaging, and transportation of the millions of garments purchased each year, the global fashion industry produces a lot of greenhouse gases. One must avoid fast fashion to save the planet. Cheap synthetic fibres even emit gases like N2O, which is 300 times more hazardous than CO2. The best way is to buy new clothes from sustainable brands and recycle or upcycle the old ones!
Going sustainable and environment-friendly is a conscious choice that one must make. Though these options demand more in terms of time and effort and are expensive to work with, the difference that these make in saving the planet is huge! We must come out of our selfish shells and think about our mother nature and make informed greener, and sustainable choices and decisions in our everyday life. Following these simple but impactful tips will help us achieve a greener planet!