Learning to tread lightly
How to reduce your carbon footprint
By MARLA PRINCE
Were you aware that you have a carbon footprint? Each person walking the Earth has one. A carbon footprint refers to the impact our personal lifestyle has on the planet, and it is measured in a variety of ways.
What kind of transportation do we use to get to work or to school? How much TV do we watch? How long are we on our computers each day and how many showers do we take a week?
Measuring our carbon footprint even takes into consideration how many children we have. This list goes on and on, depending on how dependent we are on electricity and the lifestyle choices we make.
The sad part is that Americans have the highest carbon footprint of any other country. The average adult has a carbon footprint of 14,000 kg (14 tons) a year and according to one carbon calculator, we need to cut that figure down to 2,000 kg (2 tons) a year by 2050.
That is a lot of pressure on our planet and ecosystem. We need to learn to tread more lightly. As a world, our carbon footprint has increased 11 times since 1961. We are using more of the Earth’s resources than it can provide. It takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.
How can you shrink your carbon footprint?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
I know you have heard it a million times, but manufacturing new products can create an average 4-8 pounds of carbon emissions.
Turning your electronics off is not enough. Some electronics use energy if they are still plugged in. This is called vampire energy and it can eat up 5-10 percent of your energy.
Shipping by truck or air creates tons of needless carbon emissions, plus your food will be fresher if you buy locally!
Eat Less Meat
You’ve no doubt heard this many times before as well, but vegetarians create 3,000 pounds less carbon emissions than carnivores. You’ll reduce the fat in your arteries as well!
Marla Prince has worked in the environmental industry for over 20 years and was green before green was cool. She lives in Milton with her husband and two sons.