Carbon footprint simply put , is the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful gases, also known as Greenhouse gases, in the Earth’s atmosphere. These gases are emitted by Natural sources as well as Human activities.Natural sources include respiration (breathing),evaporation in the oceans, decomposition of organic matter etc. While Human sources include Industries, Transportation, Residential sector,Agriculture etc. The Residential sector is the 3rd largest contributor, with gas emissions of 300 million metric tonnes.The contribution is only increasing every year.
But all is not lost. These are 10 simple ways to save our environment by Going Green and contributing towards a better future.
Plant a Tree – An average person produces 26 tons of CO2 per year. 6 Twenty-Five year old pine trees absorb 1 ton of CO2.If each one of us decides to plant a tree every year, the combined effect can change the Earth’s Ecology.In fact you can go a step ahead and even Gift a sapling to your friends and family on birthdays and anniversaries, thus making your gift unique and Eco-friendly. We can all Go Green, literally.
Conserve Energy – This could be done in several different ways. Switching off appliances like air-conditioner, television, lights etc when not in use , unplugging appliances like blenders and hair dryers after use. Usage of LED lights and bulbs. LED bulbs last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents, use 1/3rd the electricity and result in 80% of cost savings. In the winter it makes more sense to use more blankets rather than over using the heater ,which again can save costs.
Alternate Transport Options – Use the Public transport wherever possible. If you need to go to some place close by , either walk or use a bike. This will not only reduce your carbon footprint but will also be a good exercise, leading to better health and lower gas bills.
Bagging Solutions – We could all do with using cloth bags for our shopping. This not only reduces the storage space consumed by these bags at home, but also helps reduce the Industrial emissions going ahead ,as production of these bags would eventually go down.
Filter your water – Invest in a water filter at home. This reduces the need to buy bottled water. The carbon footprint of plastic (LDPE or PET, polyethylene) is about 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic. Just carrying your own water bottle or your own shopping bag can reduce the destruction of the environment by a huge measure.
Watch the water flow – It is a known fact that most of us keep the tap water running while brushing our teeth or shaving, this can waste up to 4 gallons of water. Cutting shower time by just 1 or 2 minutes can save up to 150 gallons of water a month. So every time you use the tap be conscious,your mindless activity may be costing the earth a lot.
Car idling time – It is extremely harmful to keep the car idling, both for the car and the environment. Car idling causes unnecessary wear to the car engine and emits gases dangerous for the environment. Even a quick errand doesn’t justify car idling. In winters we all leave our cars idling for a while to get the oil circulating. But experts recommend that 30 seconds is all we need as the car warms up more faster when its driven.
Recycling – Most of the waste generated at home can be recycled. Water used to wash veggies and fruits can be used to water plants. Plastic bags, if got from the grocery stores, can be used in trash cans. Newspapers can be put in the office paper shredders. Check for the recycle sign on every cereal box, sauce bottle or soup can to see if they can be recycled. And always remember to use the recycle trash bin outside your house, if there is one, for right disposal of waste.
Say NO to Paper – Sign up for an E-bill or E-statement with your Utility provider or Bank respectively. Stop the paper mail you receive wherever you can. Avoid taking printouts.Your carbon footprint can reduce enormously by choosing to go Electronic.
Eat Organic – Eat organic and seasonal local food as much as possible. Organic food is grown in an Eco-friendly environment which not only helps reduce the gas emissions but also leads to healthy eating. Buying local produce helps reduce the transportation for these items and thereby the contribution to the gas emissions.
Don’t litter – It is a promise each one needs to make to themselves. Littering causes long standing damages. Cigarette butts, snack wrappers and take-out food and beverage containers are the most commonly littered items. This makes the Earth ugly and the environment dangerous for all species living one Earth.
Lets make this Earth a better place to live on, ” And departing leave behind us , footprints in the sands of time ‘- H W Longfellow.