How many times in your life have you heard the same story; everything you do is bad for your environment? Maybe it’s family members or friends trying to inform you on how we can make the planet a better and healthier place. We sometimes forget that what we do has consequences, but it’s never too late to start over. We frequently hear about how our planet needs saving, but here are handy tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint.
Your carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, caused by the daily activities of an individual or organization. Some of the biggest contributors of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide consist of burning fossil fuels, like coal, natural gas, and oils. These fossil fuels provide us with electricity, fuel for combustion engine vehicles, and large industrial machinery. With the unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide trapped in our atmosphere, we are bound to face some consequences. It includes global warming, extreme weather events, and the melting of the Polar ice caps, which will result in rising sea levels. According to Co2 Human Emissions, a shocking 87% of carbon dioxide emissions are caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
One person won’t be able to change the world, but if the world works together, we can do it.
Many people ignore the plastic waste problem because they never see the result of their behavior. It’s also of huge how waste is managed. The Great Pacific garbage patch is one of the consequences of poor waste management. The area of debris consists of about 79,000 tonnes of garbage and takes up 617,000 square miles of space in our Pacific ocean. Some countries like Singapore manage their waste far better than others, but only a few countries could never stop the actual problem. When you start recycling, you immediately contribute to reducing waste being dumped into our natural habitats. Many private sector companies are doing their best to contribute positively. We should actively applaud and support those organizations.
Change Your Source of Energy
Most people are supplied with energy in the form of electricity every day. It mostly comes from energy suppliers burning coal to provide us with a constant flow of electricity. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018, coal use accounted for 65.8% of carbon dioxide emissions but only supplied 28% of electricity in the USA. This means that burning coal for 28% of a population remains the largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions.
Many people want to make a change but don’t always know where to start. We had created a solution in 1883 when Charles Fritz invented the first solar cell by coating selenium with a thin layer of gold. As years went by, solar panels for residential use became more popular because solar cell efficiency and technology increased to extraordinary levels. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, only 1.7% of the United States citizens use solar power. This means that we have this groundbreaking and world-changing technology, but very few people make use of it.
Installing Solar Panels to reduce your carbon footprint would make a significant difference. At first, it was a costly operation to install solar to supply your household with uninterrupted electricity. But as our technology improved and we started manufacturing solar panels for cheaper, it became an affordable option. Some people who switched to solar power claimed to have made their installation cost back within three years of solar usage. Consider this as it’s by far the largest contributor of all the consequences your children and their children will have to face in the future.
Switch to an Electric Vehicle
According to the EPA, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The USA alone has 263.6 million registered cars which will release about 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere annually. These are astonishing figures, luckily we have companies that are innovating and designing products, like electric vehicles, which need to phase out the old combustion engines.
The first electric vehicle was designed by an Englishman, namely Robert Anderson, in 1832. By 1900 electric vehicles reached their heyday, accounting for nearly a third of the cars on the road. Electric vehicles were nearly extinct when Henry Ford introduced the mass-produced, gas-powered automobile in 1908. In today’s age, most leading vehicle manufacturers turn towards electric vehicles, with Elon Musk’s Tesla leading the pack by quite a margin.
In some way or form, we all must feel some responsibility for the carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. Many people have already changed their lifestyles, but the question remains; are we transitioning fast enough to save our beautiful planet and reserve what we have for hundreds of generations to come. In some way or form, we all contribute to the problem but we urgently need to reduce our carbon footprint. Like the Ancient Indian Proverb says, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Start small and end big. Doing the right thing shouldn’t always cost us fortunes, so do what you can every day that you are given.”