Did you know that every person on Earth has a carbon footprint? It is impossible not to have a carbon footprint, although some footprints can be larger than others. It is important to understand the answer to the question, “What does carbon footprint mean?”
That’s because the larger the carbon footprints get, the more danger our environment is in. The size of your carbon footprint will depend on a variety of factors such as how much you travel, what kind of food you buy, and what kind of home you live in. You can find the exact size of your footprint with any carbon footprint calculator online.
By making environmentally friendly choices, you can make sure that your footprint isn’t any larger than it needs to be. Keep reading and learn more about what a carbon footprint is and how you can shrink yours by making more eco-conscious decisions.
What Does Carbon Footprint Mean?
A carbon footprint refers to the number of greenhouse gases you produce in your daily life. The primary greenhouse gas that most people are concerned about is carbon dioxide, although methane is also a harmful greenhouse gas. Depending on what kind of car you drive, what kind of meat you buy, and even how long you keep your home’s lights on will all determine the amount of greenhouse gases that your lifestyle produces.
The United States is a county with one of the largest carbon footprints in the world. 16 tons of carbon dioxide per year is the average-sized carbon footprint for a person in the United States. Considering that carbon dioxide is a very light gas, it can be hard to imagine gathering enough carbon dioxide to weigh as much as 16 tons. And yet, the average American is able to produce this much carbon dioxide every year.
This is monumental compared to people from other countries. To put that number into perspective, the global average carbon footprint size is only 4 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Many people don’t even realize how much they are growing their carbon footprints.
After all, most people don’t bother to consider how much carbon dioxide a car might produce when driving it down the road for half an hour. Many people think of carbon dioxide pollution in a more obvious sense such as factories pumping black smoke into the air. But in reality, carbon dioxide pollution can occur on levels both large and small.
Even buying meat at the grocery store can increase your carbon footprint significantly, especially if you are a regular meat-eater. But why is having a large carbon footprint so bad for the environment in the first place?
Why Are Large Carbon Footprints Bad for the Environment?
When you live a lifestyle that isn’t eco-friendly, your carbon footprint will increase. When that happens, the environment will suffer in various ways as a result. There is such a thing known as the greenhouse effect and it has a direct relation to climate change.
As more and more greenhouse gases are pumped into the atmosphere, the Earth’s average global temperature will eventually start to rise. This may not sound like a very big deal to you. After all, temperatures worldwide fluctuate all the time and they’ve never been any cause for concern. But when the Earth’s average temperature rises by even a few degrees, there can be drastic consequences.
For example, one of the most dangerous consequences has to do with the melting of the polar ice caps. As these ice caps melt due to the increase in temperature, the water levels around the world will start to rise. While this may take several years to happen, it is not unrealistic to say that several parts of the United States may be underwater within a few decades.
For example, much of Florida, parts of Texas, and parts of California could easily become flooded if the polar ice caps start to melt more than they already are. Not only will this be detrimental to human civilization, but it can also destroy entire environments and wipe out many species of animals.
The greenhouse effect and the excess of carbon dioxide in the air can also impact our lives in other negative ways. For example, acid rain may become more common. Acid rain usually occurs in heavily polluted areas and, over the years, it can damage our water supply and erode buildings and roads.
This is not to mention that it would be detrimental to the wildlife as well.
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
As mentioned before, Americans have some of the largest carbon footprints in the world. With everyone in the United States pumping 16 tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year and considering that there are more than 300 people in America, the worry of global warming is a very real concern. There are ways in which you can reduce your carbon footprint.
It would be best if everyone in the world could have a carbon footprint of 2 tons or less. Of course, this is a large undertaking and it will take some time to complete. However, there are some simple choices that you can make in your daily life that can cut your carbon footprint in half or even more.
For example, using a car that burns gas can pollute the environment much more than you might expect. For every liter of gas that you burn on the road, you are putting more than 2 kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. A good way to bypass this pollution is to walk or use your bicycle to get somewhere.
Of course, if your destination is too far to walk or bike to, this won’t be a helpful option. In that case, using public transportation will be a good alternative since it will reduce the number of cars on the road. When you do need to use your car, sharing it with friends or family is also a good way to reduce your carbon footprint.
If you can, you should avoid flying in airplanes. Airplanes produce more carbon emissions than any car on the road. If you do need to fly for whatever reason, you can make up for the increased carbon emissions by cutting down your carbon footprint in other ways.
Other Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to use solar power such as Blue Raven Solar. When you switch your home’s energy system to solar, you will be able to lower your carbon footprint significantly. Coal or gas-powered electricity are some of the largest contributors to large carbon footprints.
Solar energy, on the other hand, is completely green because you get your energy directly from the sun. More than that, they don’t produce any carbon emissions when they power your home. Many states even offer incentives for people to install solar panels on their homes.
The only downside is that you will likely need several solar panels to power your home which can be expensive at first. But in the long run, you will find that you can actually save money by using solar energy since your energy bill will be much smaller.
Whether you use solar or not, thinking about your energy usage is always important. For example, do you have the bad habit of leaving the lights in your house on? To reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible, only turn on the lights when you need them.
If you typically blast the air conditioning in your home, it might be time to reconsider turning it off and use a fan instead. This will not only reduce your carbon footprint but it will also save you money on your electricity bills.
Your water use is also important. Long, hot showers are not good for the environment because all that water is being wasted as it goes down the drain. While you don’t need to take cold showers, shortening your showers so they only last a few minutes will greatly improve your carbon footprint.
Everything You Need to Know About Your Carbon Footprint
What does carbon footprint mean exactly? It has to do with the number of greenhouse gases that every person on Earth produces every year. The more greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere, the closer we get to environmental problems such as global warming.
The Earth’s temperature is already starting to rise and if it continues to do so, the polar ice caps could melt and cause all sorts of problems worldwide. By shrinking your carbon footprint by adjusting your lifestyle, you won’t be contributing to global warming. To learn more, explore our website.