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
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Cloud - Your Question:Hi, I had sex like a week ago. We had used a condom and he came on my stomach but then we were nearly doing the second…
    21 November 2017
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Njones - Your Question:Hi. I’m 17 I have been on my period for 2 weeks and I had sex on the last of my period and it’s been 2 weeks since I had…
    21 November 2017
  • Njones
    Re: All about Abortion
    Hi. I’m 17 I have been on my period for 2 weeks and I had sex on the last of my period and it’s been 2 weeks since I had sex and now I’m…
    20 November 2017
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Beth - Your Question:Hi, I am 15 years old and I have had unprotected sex about a week ago. I think I’m pregnant. I can’t not tell my parents.…
    20 November 2017
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Ericaa - Your Question:Hi there, Iam 16 and on the pill and I normally take it at the samr time everyday but I had unprotected sex and when I…
    20 November 2017
  • Beth
    Re: All about Abortion
    Hi, I am 15 years old and I have had unprotected sex about a week ago. I think I’m pregnant. I can’t not tell my parents. If I go for an…
    19 November 2017
  • Ericaa
    Re: All about Abortion
    Hi there, Iam 16 and on the pill and I normally take it at the samr time everyday but I had unprotected sex and when I went to take the pill…
    19 November 2017
  • Mohsen Karimi
    Re: Beauty Tips for Boys
    I actually do more of them and i learned me new many things and i like att have a good hygiens and your site is very usfull . I liked.
    18 November 2017
  • Cloud
    Re: All about Abortion
    Hi, I had sex like a week ago. We had used a condom and he came on my stomach but then we were nearly doing the second round and well he was in…
    17 November 2017
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Scared - Your Question:I'm 14 and late on my period. I want to find out for sure and get a medical abortion if I really am pregnant but I want…
    17 November 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TeenIssues website. Please read our Disclaimer.