- Explaining the Environmental Impact: What is a Carbon Footprint?
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There are many terms associated with the green movement. Among the contenders for most commonly used concepts is “carbon footprint.” From efforts to reduce them to efforts to regulate them, hearing this term and actually knowing what is are two very different things. To help you begin to unravel the mystery of the carbon footprint, the following delves deeper into its explanation and what it may mean for your life.
- Defining the Carbon Footprint
A carbon footprint, in its most basic of definitions, is the totality of greenhouse gases that an individual or individuals produce. The amount of time that a carbon footprint is calculated to represent can vary based on the study or the desired comparative analysis. Some experts will talk about carbon footprint in terms of a lifetime of an individual or business while others define a different period of time. In its most common usage, carbon footprint is usually calculated on an annual basis.
- What Commonly Creates CO2 in the Atmosphere?
Carbon dioxide emissions, the top pollutant in greenhouse gases, can be created by a variety of different animals. Among the top emitter of CO2, however, are people. There are many different human activities that release carbon dioxide into the environment and, thus, cause a larger carbon footprint and doing damage into the atmosphere. Among the top activities that lead to damage are burning of fossil fuels for the purposes of transportation, the creation of electricity, and other industrial practices. While humans may not, as a whole, work in or own a business in one of these sectors, they often use the byproducts that cause the demand. Thus, humans across most walks of life have a carbon footprint that is often higher than if conservational practices were utilized.
- How Harmful is Carbon Dioxide?
In the term carbon footprint, carbon refers to carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that can harmful effects on the environment and climate. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that an astonishing eighty-one percent of the CO2 in the atmosphere is the direct result of the activities that humans participate in. Carbon footprints are produced through normal human activities. Carbon dioxide in massive and unnecessary amounts can be extremely devastating. It can lead to respiratory issues in those who must breathe it in, acid rain, and holes in the ozone layer. The last in this list has been deemed the primary cause of climate change issues by experts across the field.
- How to Reduce a Carbon Footprint
While no person will live a life without any carbon emission, there are ways to reduce the overall pollutants that one does put out into the universe. Utilizing less electricity, for example, will cause carbon footprints to decrease across a period of time. Green energy usage can decline the probability of an increased carbon footprint and greatly improve the longevity of the planet. Public or mass transit, too, lessens carbon footprints across a lifetime as well. Finally, another great way to reduce a carbon footprint is to look at the industries that are creating the products that an individual utilizes on a daily basis. By purchasing from businesses that are environmental friendly, aware of the carbon footprint, or are using natural sources of energy to generate power for product creation.