Save The World

December 16, 2009

What Is My Carbon Footprint?

What Is My Carbon Footprint?

If you have ever been asked about your carbon footprint don’t look down because it has nothing to do with your feet. Your “carbon footprint” is a verbal symbolism for the personal impact you are leaving upon the planet by your physical activities and by certain lifestyle choices. It is not a visible imprint but the ramifications can become visible by increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over time.

What is a Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is simply a measure of the amount of greenhouse gases your presence on earth adds to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are important because when they build up to unmanageable levels it can cause clouding of the air and lead to global warming according to some scientists. The choices you make in lifestyle activities can cause you to have a larger or a smaller carbon footprint. For example, if you have a private plane and a gas guzzling car you are creating a much larger carbon footprint than the activist who rides a bicycle to work and never flies anywhere even commercially.

Why is your carbon footprint important?

The concept of a carbon footprint is important to understand so everyone can make even small adjustments in their lifestyles to try to reduce the global buildup of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. A reduction by everyone is needed to affect the environment. Governments are trying to influence businesses to reduce CO2 outputs by levying high taxes if they produce too much pollution. Governments also can tax consumer items such as gasoline to influence the public to drive more efficient cars and to reduce the amounts of gasoline and other fossil fuels that cause CO2 buildups. The concept of “cap and trade” is one huge taxation effort that will force everyone to pay more in an effort to force a reduction of the carbon footprint of a population.

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

It is possible to estimate what your household carbon footprint is by using carbon footprint calculators that are easily found online. Just put “carbon footprint calculator” into your computer browser and many will be listed. Go to a calculator and fill in the blanks and you will get a reasonable estimate of the size of your carbon footprint.

Once you know what your carbon footprint is you can begin to attempt reductions. The areas to work within include the home, transportation, food choices or your diet plans and recycling and waste efforts that you can participate in. According to The Nature Conservatory, the average 5 person American household contributes 130 tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere yearly. The world average for a 5 person household is just 28 tons per year. Use their calculator* to discover where your lifestyle choices set your family compared to those averages.

Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Ways to reduce your impact include driving less or not at all, using appliances that are energy efficient and cutting your use of electricity and other energy sources that require power plants that use fossil fuels to produce that power. Change from meat to vegetarian meals because the carbon cost of raising meat is higher than that for growing vegetables. Also, animals produce a lot of CO2. Use energy efficient CFL light bulbs that last much longer and use less energy than incandescent bulbs. When possible use solar or wind power as alternatives to electricity. Plant trees and use recycling, composting and other waste reduction practices. If everyone attempts to reduce their carbon footprint even a small amount the total impact can be multiplied by millions. Everyone has a vested interest in keeping the planet safe and healthy. Reducing carbon footprints is a great way to help save the world.

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