Ways to reduce your carbon footprint
Ways to reduce your carbon footprint
Almost everything we do leaves, in some way, a mark in the atmosphere. If what we do leads to emissions of carbon dioxide, we call the marks carbon footprints. Our carbon footprints contribute to the greenhouse effect, and the quick warming of the planet. This can have serious consequences. This is why it’s important for us humans to reduce our carbon footprints: decrease our emissions of greenhouse gases.
And the question is: how? In one way, the answer is simple. If the problem is: “We emit excessive greenhouse gases”... … the solution is… …“We have to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.” Does this mean you need to leave everything modern behind? No cars, fridges, nor computers? No, it’s probably not that bad.
There are ways to reduce your carbon footprint quite a lot, without having to say goodbye to a modern and comfortable way of life. The first thing you can look closer at is ... … transportation. Cars, ships, and aeroplanes move because fuel - such as petrol or diesel - is burnt in the engines. The fuel usually comes from oil, and when oil burns, it results in carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere. Large carbon footprint.
And more carbon dioxide leads to a warmer climate. What can we do, then? Do we have to stop driving cars? No, for many people it is difficult to get by without a car, and it would be difficult to get goods to the stores without cars. We do have great need for cars.
But perhaps we can go less by car, or travel more together. Take the train, or cycle when it’s possible? Perhaps you can switch to other fuels, that don’t emit as much carbon dioxide. Or to electric cars? Cars powered by electricity.
An electric car doesn’t burn any petrol at all. It has a battery that’s loaded when it’s connected to an electricity source, like when you load a cell phone. Everything produced and consumed has a carbon footprint. The electric car too. But if you load your car with electricity from renewable energy sources - such as wind, water, or solar power - your carbon footprint becomes smaller than if you drive a petrol driven car.
The second largest source of emissions is… … houses. In cold climates, they need to be heated, in warm climates cooled down. And in modern societies, there are lots of machines in the home. All this requires energy. So how can we reduce the carbon footprints from our homes?
Maybe, the houses of the future will be built in other materials, or in ways that economise energy better. Houses that already exist can, for example, be equipped with solar panels on the roof, to give cheap electricity with a smaller carbon footprint. But isn’t it very expensive to buy a new car? Or to buy solar panels and attach them to the roof? Yes, it does cost.
But the prices of electric cars and other technology is decreasing fast. Climate friendly technology is developing rapidly, and is becoming both cheaper and more efficient. This means that you will be able to save money by becoming more environmentally friendly. Technical development will have a large impact in the fight against global warming. The third important field to address is … … food.
What you eat, and what you don’t eat. Because in the Western World - USA and Europe - half of the food that’s produced, goes directly to the waste bin. Half! This is a giant waste with serious consequences for the environment. Totally in vain.
Nobody gets fed by food that’s thrown away. As for the food we actually eat, there are some measures that can have a large impact. One is to eat more vegetarian. Producing meat requires a lot more resources than producing vegetarian food. And that’s why eating meat has a large carbon footprint.
The cow, in particular, has a large footprint. Cows are large, heavy animals. It takes a long time to breed them, and it takes loads of cattle fodder to do it. So in order to farm cattle, we cut down forests. Huge areas of woodland.
This has a large carbon footprint. And, cows burp and fart large amounts of methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas, that contributes to global warming. So to swap burgers for, chicken burgers or a vegetarian lunch reduces your carbon footprint and matters a lot for the atmosphere and the climate on earth. Also, it is often cheaper to eat vegetarian, than to eat meat.
There is money to be saved. There it is. Three simple words to keep in mind if you want to be climate friendly. The car, the house, the steak. The everyday choices we all make - how we move things, make our homes, and what we eat - are vital for the climate of the future.
But what’s that? That’s money you saved from being climate smart. What’ll you do with all this saved money? What will you use it for? And how can you use it with a small carbon footprint?