Carbon Footprint – What It Is And How To Reduce It

Ilze Millere
carbon footprint

What Is Carbon Footprint

A carbon (CO2) footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity. These gases include – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. (source) Carbon footprint is one of the most common measures that is used to understand the effect of an individual, an event, a company, an industry or a whole country on the environment. Although it is difficult to measure one individual’s carbon footprint, there are online calculators that can give you a rough estimate of your carbon footprint, based on the size of your household, what appliences you use, what your travelling and eating habits are and how much you recycle.

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Some people are in a better position to reduce their impacts, but others are less able. However, if everyone did something, we could make a serious difference in reducing the rate of warming and the negative consequences of our global emissions. Areas to focus on are reducing consumption, being creative about how we use and dispose of materials, and overall, just being more mindful about our activities. With collective action and awareness, we can make a difference.

Jennifer Sandoval – Sustainability Consultant

There are different areas that impact your carbon footprint and not everything is possible, according to our individual needs and lifestyles. Have a look at our list below and see what you can start to change today!

  • Reduce or completely eliminate eating animal products
  • Buy local food
  • Buy seasonal food
  • Reduce food waste
  • Support ethical and local brands
  • Support 2nd-hand and vintage shops
  • Only buy what you need to reduce your waste
  • Walk, ride a bike or use public transport instead of using a car
  • Reduce flying

I have been living plant based lifestyle for 6 years now and I love it because it reduces my carbon footprint and also supports my health. I try to buy local and seasonal food in bulk as much as I can. To reduce my food waste, I plan my meals not to waste anything. I buy only what I need and if I need to buy something I look for it first in 2nd-hand or vintage shops and then from ethical brands. I keep reusing what I have already at home.

Inkka Hajkova – Founder of Our Planet Our Home

I am not perfect when it comes to always acting mindfully regarding my own impacts. However, I strive to think more about decisions than I used to. Taking that extra time to really think through whether or not I really need something can result in a huge reduction in my own personal footprint. I am constantly trying to learn more by reading books, having conversations and sharing ideas with others. Recently, I purchased an electric vehicle and this one act has helped me to reduce my greenhouse emissions by not having to purchase fuel. It has also forced me to be more conservative about how much I travel as I need to consider how far my battery will last.

Jennifer Sandoval – Sustainability Consultant
carbon footprint

Why Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Matters

As greenhouse gas levels increase, Earth gets warmer, causing ice to melt and sea levels to rise. This phenomenon, known as global warming, greatly endangers our wildlife. According to the Nature Conservancy, 25% of Earth’s species are on track for extinction in 40 years if climate change continues at its current rate. The rising sea levels not only erode shorelines and destroy ecosystems but also threaten coastal cities’ stability.

Our increased carbon footprint also impacts the human health. Climate change increases the percentage of people suffering from hunger because the draught and other climate changes interfere with the growing season of food crops. Diseases carried by insects are increasing – such as malaria as malarious mosquitoes are now able to survive in countries that used to be too cold for them. Air pollution also causes an increase in respiratory problems like asthma and allergies. (source)

The world is warming at an alarming rate. If we, as a global society, do not reduce our carbon footprint, we will experience changes that may be irreversible and lead to mass devastation to our environment, our economies, our health and our lives. Everyone, from individuals to governments to large corporations, need to work together to reduce our CO2 output by eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels and making more mindful decisions. If we ignore the urgency to address climate change and live with a business as usual approach, it could lead to worldwide suffering and a bleak existence for future generations.

Jennifer Sandoval – Sustainability Consultant

Have you taken the first steps to reduce your carbon footprint? If not, don’t be afraid to make that change – every small action leads up to a big difference!

A special thank you to Sustainability Consultant Jennifer Sandoval and Founder of Our Planet Our Home Inkka Hajkova for sharing their expertise on carbon footprint.

Cover image by stokpic from Pixabay. Photo by Ilze Millere.

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Ilze Millere
Ilze is a sustainable filmmaker who currently lives in England and is very passionate about the environment and mental health. She has been living a sustainable lifestyle for over a year now and loves spending time in the nature.

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