A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide and methane that is caused by an organization, event, product or person. Greenhouse gases trap and hold heat and can affect our climate. Certain amounts of these gases are natural and even necessary, but too much can lead to permanent climate change that could affect our planet, ecosystem and the way we live. Your choices and your activities affect the emission of greenhouse gases.
So how do you emit these greenhouse gases, you ask? Greenhouse gases can be emitted on a large scale, through activities such as deforestation, and on a personal level, individuals can create these gases through using energy, traveling, food production and consumption, waste production, etc. For example, driving your car burns fossil fuels, which emits these gases, as does using energy to power your home. Even as food and plants breakdown and decompose they release greenhouse gas.
Before you can reduce your carbon footprint, you have to first find out how large your footprint is and what activities impact that footprint the most. Calculate your carbon footprint on using our carbon footprint calculator.
In the meantime, you can make these small changes for a big impact!
- Switch water heaters to “vacation” mode when you are away
- Unplug appliances and turn off lights that are not in use
- Invest in energy saving light bulbs
- Adjust your thermostat down by 1 degree C or 2 degrees F in the winter and up in the summer
- Buy local and organic foods
- Avoid buying foods that are not in season that would have to be flown in from other parts of the world
Recycle & Reuse
- Eliminate waste whenever possible and recycle
- Use your food waste to make compost for your garden
- Reuse bags and containers for other purposes instead of throwing them away
- Walk or bike whenever you can
- When you have to drive, carpool
- When you have to fly, pack lighter because lighter planes use less fuel
And check out our blog post on Recycling Cell Phones. That is one simple way to lessen your impact on the environment.
Thanks Flickr user Eole for the beautiful photo!