What is Carbon Footprint and why should we reduce it?
Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by an individual. The greenhouse gases mainly include carbon dioxide(CO2) and methane(CH4).
Transport, forest clearance, production and consumption of food, fuel etc emits these greenhouse gases.
These gases are harmful for our environment and surroundings. The adverse effects are taking a toll on human lives and degradation of nature.
It is imperative that we calculate our carbon footprint and hence, try to minimise it.
STEPS TO REDUCE AN INDIVIDUAL’S CARBON FOOTPRINT
FROM FOOD ITEMS
- RIGHT CHOICE OF DIET – Especially relevant, animal protein (like red meat), heavily processed and packaged foods are of high carbon content. Moreover foods that are transported to long distances through vehicles running on fuels, consequently are a major contributor of emission of carbon gases.
To reduce the ill effects, one should eat the local and seasonal fruits and vegetables. As a result, instead of animal proteins, one should opt for plant proteins (like beans,grains,etc). One can go for organic food as well.
- FILTER WATER – Try to buy less packaged water bottles. As it is made from plastic, it is very harmful for our planet. Try to filter your water and use it. It will be cost efficient and minimize the carbon emission.
FROM VEHICLES AND TRANSPORTATION
- VEHICLES – Try to minimize usage of your own vehicles. Rather use public transport and cycles.
You can even go for car pooling or mass transportation. In addition to carbon footprint, you can also reduce your fuel cost.
If you drive your car or two wheeler vehicles, then please avoid unnecessary acceleration.
And get your vehicles services regularly. It will ensure that your fuel, air and oil filters are replaced when needed. When your vehicles are running efficiently, probably your emission control system is at its best.
- AIRPLANES – Try to limit your flights unless its necessary. Airplanes consume large amount of fuels and increase the level of gases in atmosphere. If you have to take the flight, then try to take the most direct route possible. Pack light, as lighter plane means less fuel.
- REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE – This is the concept of 3R. We should try to reduce the consumption of fuel and products which releases harmful gases like plastics. If used, then the product should not be of use and throw type. Rather it should be reused, enhancing its usage and efficiency. And at last, it should be given to scrap dealers or recycling stations where the product will be recycled into another useful product. This method will reduce the wastage and emissions.
- COMPOST THE FOOD SCRAPS – The food scraps must be composted. It will serve as manure for plants. The carbon content in the compost will be used by plants for growth, In turn, it will reduce the carbon footprint and its level.
- CHARITY – Gifting items in charity is also a way of recycling. Not only clothes, but also other house hold items like CDs, videos, books, etc can be given. This will help in reducing global warming.
FROM ELECTRICITY CONSUMING PRODUCTS
- USE EFFICIENT LIGHTING – Lights used should be efficient enough to consume less energy and should be long lasting. CFLs and fluorescent tubes are more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
They consume less power and has long life. Nowadays, LED bulbs are available which is more effective than the other two. Though LED is slightly expensive than CFLs and fluorescent tubes, but it has longer life and more eco-friendly.
- LIGHT FIXTURES – Pay more attention to light fixtures. You can minimize your light requirement by using reflectors and directional lamps . In addition to saving energy cost, it will also give you comfort and reduce the carbon footprint.
- EFFICIENT ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES – Check whether the electrical appliances you are buying is power efficient or not. The appliances must run on less power and consume less energy. Many companies give stars to their products. Consequently, this tells the product’s efficiency. The appliances must be checked regularly for leakage or oil spills.
The electrical gadgets must be unplugged when not in use. Due to this, even if the switch is off, if the gadget is plugged in, it consumes and store energy. This is called Vampire Energy. If the gadgets are unplugged, we can reduce 10% of our energy cost.
- USE OF INSULATORS – Minimize the use of air conditioners and heaters. Instead insulate your homes which will help in adaptation according to the weather outside. C#onsequently, it will reduce almost 25% of energy consumption and will help in reducing global warming level.
- LAPTOPS V/S DESKTOPS – Laptops is more preferred to desktops as the latter consumes five times the energy consumed by a laptop. Furthermore, due to battery life, laptops are more energy efficient.
BY OTHER ENERGY SOURCES
- AFFORESTATION – Plant more trees in deforested regions. Plants absorb CO2 and will reduce the carbon content in environment. This will help in reducing pollution level as well.
- USE OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES – Alternative sources such as solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy and biomass should be used in industries and for generating electricity.
First of all these sources are non-depleting. Also they can replace coal and fuels which are non- renewable.
Most noteworthy they are expensive, but perfect in long run. Futhermore, they won’t emit any harmful gases and hence, they are eco-friendly. Therefore, they play an active role for reducing carbon footprint.
“As this is the hour of need, let’s join hands to reduce carbon footprint and save our planet”