Let’s reduce our carbon footprint-A A +A
By Art Tibaldo
Monday, September 9, 2013
AFTER hearing much about environmental issues such as climate change, greenhouse effect, global warming and all that jazz about the growing concern and condition of the world we live in, I’m hearing new terminologies of age old practices that dates back to ancient times. If you have cooked food with firewood, burnt fossil fuel when driving a car or even puffed a lit cigarette, you already added carbon into the ecological system that years ago were not talked about but simply regarded as a sign of progress.
A carbon footprint according to an online definition is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
When a person drives a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance. A gallon of diesel oil used by an average car generally emits 9.95 kilograms of CO2 and a gasoline produces 8.7 Kgs.
When a tobacco farmer for example fires wood to heat up a kiln dryer and a baker makes bread with an electric oven, both generate carbon dioxide because the electrical power may also have emitted a certain amount of CO2. When you buy food and other items, the production of these goods also emitted some quantities of CO2.
In a study presented by the Global Footprint Network, the extent of humanity’s overall Ecological Footprint and its most rapidly-growing component is already 54 percent. Humanity’s carbon footprint has increased 11-fold since 1961. Reducing humanity’s carbon Footprint is the most essential step we can take to end overshoot and live within the means of our planet.
Today, humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year according to GFN. The report further reveals that turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend.
The alarming result published in the http://www.footprintnetwork.org includes collapsing fisheries, diminishing forest cover, depletion of fresh water systems, and the build-up of carbon dioxide emissions, which creates problems like global climate change. The feared overshoot can contribute to resource conflicts, wars, mass migrations, famine, disease and other human tragedies.
Of the one hundred and one effective ways to reduce your Carbon footprint and save money published by Green Wiki, I lifted 20 items for lack of space. We earthlings must learn to; Buy locally produced goods and services, Buy in-season produce as out-of-season produce requires more energy to refrigerate, and more fuel to ship in from places where it is in season. Reduce consumption. Reuse items when you can. Recycle your waste. Bring your own mug to your favourite coffee shop. Paper cups are not always recycled. Some coffee shops will give discounts to those who bring their own cup. Use reusable bags for grocery shopping. Clean the lint filter in your dryer. This will reduce energy consumption as well as electrical and environmental costs. Plant a tree; this is one of the best things you can do. Trees inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Try to use public transportation as often as possible - unfortunately private vehicles like cars emit a large amount of CO2. Trains, subways, buses and carpooling are all a good idea.
When replacing a household appliance, choose those with energy-saving devices. Only use your dryer, dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load; don't do half loads. This reduces the number of loads and energy consumption. Use a dishwasher rather than washing by hand as the efficient ones use less water. Open the dishwasher before the drying cycle is complete and let the dishes dry naturally. Whenever possible, hang laundry outside to dry on a clothes line rather than throwing laundry into a dryer. Don't leave household appliances on standby as they will continue to consume a great deal of energy. Invest in a power strip into which you can plug them all and switch it off when you are not using them. Eat one less serving of meat a week. Avoid products with multiple layers of packaging. Plant an organic garden and grow your own vegetables even if it's just a small patch or a windowsill planter. Water your garden in the evening as this will save water. Don't use a hose to wash your car and reduce the number of times you wash your car. Use cotton towels and fabric napkins rather than paper ones. Don't boil a full kettle to make one cup of tea or coffee; only boil what you need. There are a lot of things that can be done to make our earth liveable. Before man even considers exploring other planets as a refuge, we must really be at peace with our own earth in order to prolong our stay.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 10, 2013.