It’s called The Carbon Footprint and the challenge is to make yours smaller. At least that’s what those hoping to curb the climatic change say.
A carbon footprint represents the impact of an individual, household or business on the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The average Indian family of four annually emits about 83,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas through energy use for transportation, home heating, electricity consumption and waste. The world average is about one-fifth that amount.
Various online calculators have been devised to measure a carbon footprint and suggest ways to reduce it. Earlier this month, a popular American Website began promoting the use of a carbon calculator. With or without a calculator, people can make their footprint smaller just by cutting down on driving, conserving energy or installing solar panels etc. What’s less important than using a specific calculator is that people have the consciousness to think about their energy use, instead of just sitting and being unaware that how much power they’re using and where it comes from!!
Since driving can account for 40 percent or more of the average adult’s carbon footprint, changing driving habits is the way to make the biggest cut. Buying a fuel-efficient or hybrid car, living closer to work, cycling and walking more are all significant steps toward a smaller footprint. In addition to this, our home will be less drafty and we’ll save money on utility bills too.
Other lifestyle changes can help, too, from eating less meat to buying more local produce, recycling, composting, choosing items with less packaging and growing more trees, clover and vegetables in your yard instead of grass.
The problem of global warming is one of enormous social change, and no one person can make a difference, but everyone doing their part can certainly bring about the change. Social change happens as momentum builds. If a few people start taking action, then others see what’s possible and decide to follow. Climate change won’t be slowed significantly by individuals trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Large-scale governmental policies and alternative energy initiatives will be needed. Though massive change doesn’t happen overnight, grass-roots actions can surely prepare the way.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leonski/1355741181/]