Carbon Foot Print, How big is yours?
Human kind has come a long way from the old grampa V10 Cadillac, incandescent light bulbs, turbojet propelled planes to hybrid cars, fluorescent bulbs and more efficient turbofan planes, but it still has a long and torturous road ahead until the so called carbon neutral way of life. However, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, China ranks #1 country on the list of emissions with 24.4% followed by the USA with 22.2%. Two countries emits almost half of all CO2 produced in the world.
How to measure it?
Every person, family, company, or country have carbon foot prints, some bigger, some smaller. There is ways to calculate an individual’s footprint. Some websites gives you an approximate calculation of your carbon footprint. It considers all fossil fuel burning activities you perform and products you consume, takes into account energy consumption, how much gas your car spend, the size of your house and how much oil/gas/electricity is used for heating/cooling, food consumption, even water running from your tap while doing the dishes or brushing your teeth, among others.
How to reduce it?
An average citizen doesn't have to meet carbon reducing quotas although it influences his/her Country's quota. However, taking the initiative in reducing it won't hurt and is a great idea. Simple actions such as buying local grown foods, choosing a fuel efficient car, energy efficient light bulbs, monitor you electricity consumption and establish a reducing target, if possible reduce meat consumption, close that tap while soaping the dishes or your hands. Another smart way to help is purchasing carbon offset credits. It is important to raise awareness to be able to monitor and control our own personal consumption.
Carbon offset programs:
Carbon offsetting has gained some attention and momentum mainly among people in developed countries who have become aware and concerned about the potentially negative environmental effects of energy-intensive lifestyles. Is a market where companies, institutions purchase carbon credits in order to comply with carbon emitting regulations. The money is in turn invested in clean energy producing programs, reforestation and development of clean technologies. The Kyoto Protocol has approved offsets as a way for governments and private companies to earn carbon credits which can be traded on a marketplace. Many companies also sell carbon credits to individual customers who are interested in lowering their footprint voluntarily. Eg. Many airlines offer this option when you buy an air plane ticket.
Your carbon footprint can also be seen as a thermometer that measures how much you are thinking towards the future or what kind of planet you are willing to leave to your children. Next time you consider buying that nice looking big SUV or that beautiful and excessively large house consider also the environment you are leaving behind.