Every human being has a Carbon Footprint.
When considering the consumption of manufactured goods, fossil fuels, and the use of transportation, we all contribute to the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The idea of a carbon footprint is connected to the world of climate change, and looking at ways to mitigate long-term effects. Let’s zone in on the carbon footprint and what it means.
What is a carbon footprint?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a Carbon Footprint is “a measure of the impact your activities have on the amount of CO2 produced through the burning of fossil fuels and is expressed as a weight of CO2 emissions produced in tonnes.” These activities are simpler than many persons realize and include:
- Air Travel
- Consumption of imported foods and animal products
- Household energy use
Does my carbon footprint matter?
The average global carbon footprint per person is approximately 4 tonnes (Nature Conservancy.com). The Caribbean has generally been a low contributor to the pertinent issue but remains highly vulnerable to it. One of the biggest drivers of Caribbean economies is also one of the highest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, that is tourism. The region also suffers at the hands of natural disasters which are further charged by climate change variations.
So does your carbon footprint matter? Yes, it does. Any hope of reversing climate change is reliant on each individual understanding his or her piece in the puzzle and making a conscious effort to change. The Caribbean susceptibility to climate change should never be forgotten in our current climate. Though it can be difficult to be on track all the time, it is essential to be effective. Carbon footprint calculators were designed to allow persons to keep up with their daily activities.
How can I start to reduce my carbon footprint?
As Neil Armstrong said, “a small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” It is easy to be daunted by wanting to take big actions to make a difference. Starting small is the way to go when looking to reduce your footprint, because it is a lifestyle change.
Make your travel environmentally friendly
- Driving efficiently or slower can reduce emissions from your car
- Service your car regularly and check your tyres
- If possible, use the air conditioning only when needed
- Carpool – why have more than one vehicle from the same household head in the same direction? Or travel with persons you trust going in the same direction
- Air travel is a major contributor to rising emissions. In cases where you cannot avoid flying, companies accept donations towards eco-friendly projects
Make your meals environmentally friendly
- Cutting down on red meat is actually good for the environment. Manufacturing by-products uses a lot of feed, water and land.
- A plant based diet is likely best for the environment and supporting local farmers helps to drive the economy.
Make your home environmentally friendly
- Recycling waste such as bottles and paper reduces the waste from your home going to the landfill
- Be energy smart with your devices and electricity. Turn off lights and unplug small devices when not in use. Consider buying devices that use less energy.