The Importance of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint as an Individual
Companies and industries emit carbon dioxide and other gases – that’s a given. These gases, which include methane and nitrous oxide, are collectively called greenhouse gases, and they impact our climate in negative ways. With the involvement of government agencies and the levying of carbon taxes, industries monitor and reduce their carbon emissions to improve the atmosphere. However, many individuals are unaware of their carbon footprints and the need to reduce them. This article provides key reasons.
Carbon footprint is a measure of the greenhouse gases – specifically carbon dioxide – emitted by a person or thing over a given period. These emissions happen through direct channels—heating a home, cooking, driving a car—and indirect channels—working at a factory or industry.
Coal, oil, and natural gases are responsible for most of the activities that result in carbon emissions. Reducing the consumption of these fuels leads to a lower carbon footprint, with positive impacts on the climate, environment, and health.
Why Carbon Footprint Reduction?
Based on recent studies, carbon emissions contribute to up to 800,000 premature deaths globally. Several Asian countries have survived climactic disasters due to a weakened climate and a depleted ozone layer. Reduced carbon footprints:
- Improves Global Climate: Adverse effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions include rising sea levels, ocean acidification (as the ocean absorbs up to 30% of CO2 present in the atmosphere), increased global and regional temperatures, and melting of sea ice (the absence of sea ices would cause seas to spill over their banks, overflooding most coastal cities on the planet). Reduced carbon footprints will slow the rate of these environmental developments. More animals and plants will enjoy better habitats; erosion and flooding will be drastically reduced.
- Ameliorates Public Health: Hydrofluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride, and carbon dioxide are health-risk substances. When emitted, they affect the frequency of asthma, strokes, cancer, and other diseases. Droughts, which occur due to scarcity of water resources in a given region, encourage the breakout of waterborne diseases. With every individual working to reduce carbon footprints, cases of extreme weather conditions will become rarer, thus minimizing outbreaks and improving public health.
- Boosts the Global Economy: In 2017, 1.2 million deaths in China were caused by air pollution. If we worked to reduce all disasters and pandemics triggered by a polluted climate, we would improve the global GDP in appreciable quantities. Air pollution-related deaths would be reduced; displacements of individuals and animals from their habitats would be eradicated; and incidents such as the Australian wildfire that started the year in 2020 would be reduced. Cumulatively, a healthy climate yields a healthy global economy.
Carbon footprint reduction also prevents endangerment of animals and plant species, which in turn affects the availability of food and water. Afforestation prevents erosion, which secures a nourishing food chain system. Clean aquatic habitats ensure a limitless supply of clean, fresh water for multipurpose functions.
How To Reduce Carbon Footprints?
There are several ways to prevent carbon emissions. Here are a few steps any individual can practice:
- Reuse and recycle: Select items that can be reused and recycled to reduce landfill waste. Reducing landfill waste by reusing household items and recycling materials such as bottles, nylons, and clothingIf it cannot be reused or recycled, don’t take it.
- Go Renewable: Renewable energy sources save a tonne of energy. Rather than burning coal or fuel, opt for solar-or tidal-powered energy. Likewise, use fluorescent bulbs at home. They save up to 75% of the energy consumed.
- Saving water usage: How often do you heat water for a shower? Washing clothes with cold water will globally reduce trillions of tonnes of energy consumed or carbon emitted. Take shorter showers to reduce your energy expenditure.
Don’t stop at practising these tips alone. Discuss carbon footprint reduction with your local community—research steps to reducing carbon footprint and implement these steps. At Rooted, we believe that everyone can make a minor change; together, we can change the world. Join us on the journey to a better climate.