Do you know what is the most damaging way to travel for the climate? It is air travel, that adds to a large portion of your carbon footprint. The CO2 emission from aircraft, which when mixed with their gaseous trails’ accounts for almost 5% of global warming*.
With human beings confined to their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic, the CO2 emission was reduced up to 60% in 2020, when during the peak of the pandemic, the flights were grounded.
For any environmentally conscious person, it’s a relief to know that the reduced air travel, has temporarily improved the air quality. Though once the pandemic ends, these carbon emissions due to aviation will rebound for sure, and sadly, we can’t do much about it. But there are some lifestyle choices that you and I can make in an individual capacity to reduce the carbon footprint we leave in the environment.
WHAT IS A CARBON FOOTPRINT?
A carbon footprint is the number of greenhouse gases that are emitted from the production and use of a product or service by an individual, community, place, organization, and country. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and other fluorinated gases. These harmful gases, when released into the atmosphere traps the heat, causing global warming.
Some personal activities we do that contribute to our carbon footprint are the way we travel, the waste we throw, power consumption at home; and other activities like buying “fast” fashion, eating meat, using a dryer for clothes, etc.
Why is it important to reduce Carbon Footprint?
One painful lesson that pandemic has taught us that we can’t mindlessly exploit nature.
We cannot just indiscriminately take from nature and dump her with garbage, pollution, CO2 emission in return. Unless we take measures to ease the pressure we put on nature, it reacts in a damaging way; maybe in the form of Natural disasters or extreme temperatures. To prevent these outbreaks, we need to keep greenhouse gases at a natural level. Thus, lies the importance of reducing carbon footprint.
How to reduce Carbon Footprint?
Let’s focus on the measures we can to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere due to transport, Household Waste, and Energy.
- Air travel is the major contributor to co2 emissions in the atmosphere. So instead of flying frequently for vacations, try a road trip to leisure spots closer to home. To avoid work-related travel, try switching to video conferencing via zoom, skype or facetime; after all pandemic has taught us well to be pro at online meetings.
- To decrease the harmful emissions in the air drive efficiently, which means not to Overspeed, coast to red light, and not idling your engine.
- Try walking, cycling, carpooling, and, public transport as a suitable way to get to your destination.
- While choosing a vehicle, select the one which doesn’t emit harmful emissions. And always keep the tires of the car properly inflated and get regular tune-ups of the vehicle.
- Don’t waste food. The waste food eventually reaches the landfills and rots; the rotten food produces methane – a greenhouse gas. Buy what you need, freeze the excess, learn to make dishes with leftovers, or recycle the food waste by composting it.
- Don’t buy cheap and fast fashion items. These too end up in landfills, where they decompose to produce methane. Instead buy quality clothes that last, recycle and repurpose old clothes or participate in clothing swap events.
- The plastic menace needs to be checked. Some ideas to do so – Single-use plastics like PET bottles, straws need to be avoided, cloth bags should be used for shopping, in kitchen switch to glass and steel containers for storage and avoid disposable tableware
- Switch off lights when not in use, and Use energy-efficient light bulbs like LED – both the simple steps will cut down the electricity bill and co2 emissions in the air.
- Some doable actions in the kitchen like covering pots while cooking, putting leftover food in the fridge once it comes to room temperature only, defrosting the old fridge regularly, are ways to be more energy-efficient.
- Miscellaneous actions to save energy: put your clothes out in sun to dry instead of using a dryer, take a quick shower and use low flow showerheads, unplug the mobile charger when not in use, and instead of running on a treadmill in a gym run outside
So, tell me guys aren’t these changes easy to implement? Will little will power the choices we make and the actions we take can help reduce the carbon footprint.
Ist pic courtesy: Google
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