Home > Environmental Issues > Your Carbon Footprint

Your Carbon Footprint

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 24 Jan 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Carbon Footprint Environment Impact

Our daily lives have an impact on our environment. Everything from the food we eat to the clothes we wear to the transport we use can hurt our local environment and our planet as a whole. One way to measure this impact is known as a carbon footprint. Everyone has a carbon footprint, but this measurement is not always well understood. To help you with this topic we have put together some basic answers to frequently asked questions about carbon footprints.

What Does a Carbon Footprint Measure?

A carbon footprint is a measure of how much our daily activities produce or contribute to the production of greenhouse gases. These gases contribute to the greenhouse effect and climate change. In modern life we tend to create a carbon footprint in two ways:
  • Primary footprint: directly producing carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. This production comes from things like using electricity and transportation. We can directly control our primary footprints.
  • Secondary footprint: indirect production of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. This includes those produced while items (clothing, plastics, etc) are produced, used and broken down. We can only control how much/many of these products we use.

What is the Greenhouse Effect?

The greenhouse effect describes the rising temperatures on Earth due to gases in the atmosphere trapping energy from the sun. These gases don’t allow heat to move back to space and instead keeps the Earth warmer than it would be otherwise. These gases include:
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Methane
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Water vapour

What is Climate Change?

Climate change refers to a long-term, measurable change in a given climate. The time periods of these changes may be decades or even millions of years. Natural factors (for example, changes in the Earth’s orbit of the sun), natural processes (for example, ocean circulation) and human impact (carbon footprints) can all result in climate change. Climate change often includes changes in:
  • Temperature (global warming refers to higher temperatures)
  • Rainfall amounts and locations
  • Snowfall amounts and locations
  • Wind patterns

Why is Reducing My Carbon Footprint Important?

Reducing your specific carbon footprint is important because it allows you to directly lower your contributions to greenhouse gases and by extension the greenhouse effect and climate change. You may not believe your carbon footprint has much impact on the overall impact all humans have on the environment, but if no one took responsibility for their contributions no progress would ever be made.

What Can I Do to Reduce My Carbon Footprint?

Reducing your carbon footprint requires just a few small adjustments in your daily life. Many of these won’t cost you anymore than you already spend, and some will even help you save money. Easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint include:
  • Using less petrol (walking, sharing car rides, taking public transportation more often).
  • Composting organic rubbish instead of putting it in a bag and sending to a landfill.
  • Turning off and unplugging items which use electricity (television, computer, tea kettle, etc).
  • Switching to biodegradable cleaning products.
  • Eating seasonal (so it isn’t forced to flourish) and local (so it isn’t shipped) food.
  • Reducing, reusing and recycling whenever possible.
  • Changing to energy-efficient light bulbs.
  • Opting for trains instead of planes when travelling.
  • Purchasing carbon offsets (a reduction of greenhouse gas production elsewhere) when flying.

Your carbon footprint is your impact on the environment. Understanding what this measurement means, what the greenhouse effect is, what climate change is, whey reducing your carbon footprint is important and how you can reduce your carbon footprint are all important to making sure your impact on the environment is as positive as possible.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Ccmm143
    Re: All about Abortion
    My boyfriend and I are both 16 and we had sex and the condom broke and he came, I am on the pill but I am 8 days late for my period. I’ve been…
    17 October 2018
  • sad but cute
    Re: How to Deal with Pressure From Parents
    since i was a kid my mother always put presure on me at my grades she always compares me to my half big sister…
    15 October 2018
  • Alisha
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    I have recently been self harming , I told my best friend and she talked to me , she said I should stop , I still have scars from…
    15 October 2018
  • helpmeplease
    Re: All about Abortion
    I had sex 8 days ago I used a condom But I’m scared I’m pregnant because I’m having stomach cramps badly and my boobs hurt, can I be pregnant
    7 October 2018
  • Deano2001
    Re: All about Abortion
    Im 17 and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for nearly five months I am on the pill but I found out today that I am 3 weeks+…
    6 October 2018
  • Chad
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    I am a grade 12 student. We are asking permission to use your questionnaire in our study.…
    4 October 2018
  • jens
    Re: All about Abortion
    i think i'm pregnant i had sex exactly a month ago and have missed my period, i'm 14, can i go to the drugstore and buy a pregnancy test, how…
    28 September 2018
  • young slayer123
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    every day i wake up and cut my wrist more then once then i go to school eat and bullied then i go home and eat some cake and sleep and cut…
    28 September 2018
  • NORMIE KILLER123 69
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    My MoM THinKs' i A m a girl bUt Mesa FeLl liKE bøi
    28 September 2018
  • the big daddy
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    i got myself preganagnt what me do now
    28 September 2018