- Understanding the Environment: What Is a Carbon Footprint?
Carbon footprints are commonly used in reference to environmental efforts. There is much effort placed on reduction of carbon footprints and controlling them. Carbon footprints can have a strong impact on the environment but not everyone outside of the environmental movement understands what they are, what they analyze, and how they are calculated. The following focuses on unraveling the definition of what a carbon footprint is, how it is calculated, and why you should care about it for your own life.
- Defining the Carbon Footprint
When it comes to carbon footprints, it is important to begin with the most basic of definitions. In its basic form, the carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide that an individual out puts within a set amount of time. As Time for Change explains, carbon is analyzed because it is the most common of the greenhouse gases and the top contender for most harmful. As such, analyzing this type of emission helps to identify the most harmful of gas emissions hurting the environment and influencing climate change.
- How Is It Calculated?
Carbon footprints are time specific. That is to say that a carbon footprint is the amount of carbon or CO2 that an entity puts out over a given period of time. This time can vary from analysis to analysis but is most commonly calculated on an annual basis. It is also possible that the entity being analyzed is not a human. Though this is another commonly used approach, it is also equally as possible that the carbon footprint is analyzed in terms of business or industry. It may be, for example, that the carbon footprint of a power plant is analyzed rather than a person or family. This can be very valuable in terms of comparative analysis.
Carbon footprints are being more readily studied in both individualized and industrial terms. As the environmental movement grows and understanding of climate change increases, it is likely that the emphasis and understanding of analysis through this mechanism is going to increase as well. As Time for Change explains, the organizational backing for understanding is on the rise and efforts to lessen the impact of these environmental factors are increasing as well.
- Why Care About the Carbon Footprint?
Knowing what a carbon footprint is and understanding why it matters are two very different things. Carbon footprints are important to analyze because they give an idea of what is being harmful to the environment and understanding better what is damaging the world in which we live. The larger a business, individual’s, or family’s carbon footprint is, the greater the harm to the environment in which we all live. While reducing a carbon footprint may seem like something that businesses or industries should focus upon, people can do their part in guiding these businesses toward the desired end goal of carbon footprint reduction. For instance, creating less of a demand through the use of green or alternative energy sources can have a lasting impact in driving down demand. Even making small choices toward conversation can have lasting impacts that will protect plant and animal life for generations to come.