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Understanding The Carbon Footprint Issue

We live in a world of continuing change and in recent years there have been a number of important changes to the weather that is experienced around the globe. Much talk is made of the impact around climate change and the need to reduce the ‘carbon footprint’ but what are we actually talking about?

A carbon footprint is defined as ‘the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere as a result of the particular activities of individuals, organisations or communities’ and it is the carbon in the atmosphere that is seen as directly contributing to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and therefore causing climate change.

Climate change is seen as related to carbon dioxide and therefore the level of emissions into the atmosphere are causing issues. In order to minimise the impact of climate change – rising sea levels, catastrophic changes in temperature, flooding, destruction of icebergs, deforestation, warmer summers etc – carbon dioxide emissions need to be reduced.

This is something that is on the global agenda with the United Nations adding it to their Sustainable Development Goals and the EarthShot Prize that was launched recently seeks to tackle the challenges too. However, everyone can individually seek to reduce their own carbon footprint by their own daily choices as well.

What can individuals do to reduce their carbon footprint?

  • Source and buy local, seasonal produce (less need for resources and machinery to produce, harvest, package and transport)

  • Buy organic produce which does not involve chemicals in production (less consumption of resources)

  • Eat less meat (vegetarian diets have smaller carbon footprints)

  • Source renewable energy where possible

  • Consider paying the carbon offsetting supplement for when you fly (enables conservation efforts to be undertaken to offset the carbon produced whilst travelling)

  • Reduce unnecessary trips in petrol/diesel vehicles

  • Use less technology

  • Turn off lights when not needed

  • Print less (saves trees)

  • Reduce consumption and recycle more.

There are plenty of small things that we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint and the impact that we each have on the environment each and every day.

Cumulatively, we can make a difference.


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