Most people are familiar with the term carbon footprint, though not everyone understands it. To put it simply, a person’s carbon footprint is the impact they have on the earth. Unfortunately, that’s about where the knowledge ends for most individuals.
What Is My Carbon Footprint?
Your carbon footprint is divided into two sections: a primary carbon footprint and a secondary carbon footprint.
The primary carbon footprint is a measurement of your direct emissions of carbon dioxide. This includes domestic energy use and your daily use of transportation. Meanwhile, the secondary carbon footprint is a measurement of your indirect carbon dioxide emissions. This includes items that you purchase at the store, the manufacturing process of the items you purchase and their eventual breakdown to the earth.
Examples of your primary carbon footprint include home usage of gas, oil and coal. Electricity, use of both private transportation such as a car, boat, RV, motorcycle and public transport, such as a train, bus or airplane are also part of a primary carbon footprint.
Your secondary footprint is more complex and includes your home, how it was built, how long it will last, how much of it was built using eco-friendly methods or products, and so forth. It also includes your car, how it was manufactured and how it will break down after it has served it’s purpose. Your clothes, food and beverages, financial services, recreational activities and a share of public services are all also contributing factors to your secondary carbon footprint.
How Can I Reduce My Carbon Footprint?
It’s actually much simpler to reduce your carbon footprint than you might think. Simple things like turning off the lights in a room you aren’t actively using, keeping your thermostat set to a reasonable level or running all of your errands on a single day instead of sporadically throughout the week can all contribute to lowering your carbon footprint.
Energy saving light bulbs, proper home insulation and even solar panels can all greatly cut down on your carbon dioxide emissions. If these aren’t options or are a bit out of your price range, don’t fret: the list of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is literally endless.
Carpooling, using the bus or even walking or bicycling to work can really add up quickly. Buying local fruits and vegetables or simply buying foods that are locally in season can also be beneficial. Reducing the amount of meat you eat is also a simple step, as it takes a lot to raise, process and ship various meats; plus you’ll be healthier for it. Organic foods and other products don’t use pesticides, which also helps reduce your overall carbon footprint.
And let’s not forget about another easy step: recycling.
So, if you’re interested in the specifics, Nature.org offers a great carbon footprint calculator. In the United States, the average greenhouse gas emissions for a single person is 27 tons of carbon dioxide per year. My carbon footprint is 16 tons per year. What’s yours?
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Carbon Footprint: What Is A Carbon Footprint?
Carbon Footprint: Carbon Footprint Reduction