Reducing our personal carbon footprint is no longer optional. It’s a responsibility each and every one of us must assume to save our planet for future generations.
The term ‘carbon footprint’ was introduced by an oil giant, BP, through its $250 million ad campaign aimed to move public attention away from fossil fuel companies and onto individual responsibility for solving climate change. Regardless of this paradox, the fact is that our lifestyles do not have a zero footprint. Each and every one of us must assume responsibility for our actions and the effect they have on the planet, and we know what happens when people come together, for better or worse.
1. Carbon Footprint
As a term, the carbon footprint is the sum of the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, or product. Although the exact figure is difficult to calculate due to the complexity of interactions, many online carbon calculators can give you an estimate. Regardless of your score, there are always ways to reduce it.
The global average annual carbon footprint per person in 2014 was about 5 tonnes. More recent figures suggest that the global average is now 4 tonnes and although this might seems as we are making progress, the US figure of 16 tons per person says otherwise, according to data from The Nature Conservancy. To avoid a disaster, scientific data states we must drop our personal average to below 2 tons. Needless to say, this cannot happen overnight but action must be taken immediately – and it starts with you.
2. How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Although you can increase your energy efficiency by installing solar panels and insulating your home, lowering your carbon footprint can require very little effort or financial investment.
Reduce your energy usage
Practicing energy conservation with simple habits such as turning off lights when we leave the room and line-drying our clothes we previously washed in cold water will not only lower your carbon footprint, they will also significantly trim your monthly Ohio Edison utility costs. Small gestures can make a big difference both on your utility bill and the global CO2 emissions.
Livestock is responsible for 14.5 percent of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions. It takes up precious land while polluting the environment with production and processing. Transporting food across the globe to your plate is a whole new story, not to mention the storage conditions needed to keep it from spoiling. So, support your local producers and eliminate food waste by finding creative ways to work with your leftovers. The equation is simple: eat less meat and dairy. Simply by introducing a meat-free day such as Meatless Monday, you get to reduce your carbon footprint by 2,920 pounds a year.
2020 was the year that broke the unbeatable ‘lipstick index’ that survived recessions and depressions. It turns out, women don’t need so much makeup they thought as they discovered the power of self-care and inner beauty during self-quarantine. Do you really need to follow up on the newest trends and buy a new outfit for every season? Keep in mind that trendy items that go out of style quickly get dumped in landfills and end up producing methane as they decompose. Even the most luxurious brands manufacture their products in China and Bangladesh, so besides the cheap quality, you get by paying for a "premium" good that will pollute your body and the environment, shipping them uses even more fossil fuels. Buy better and buy less. Recycle used items or give them away. Discover the magic of second-hand items as goods that got to this stage already passed the test of durability.
Do you need to drive all the time? How about taking a walk? Riding a bike will do wonders for thighs while sculpting the perfect derriere. If you are buying a car, did you consider buying an electric one? Choose a train over an airplane. If you have to fly, take fewer connecting flights and choose direct ones whenever you can.
As paradoxical as it is that British Petroleum who is among the highest-emitting companies in the world gets to term an expression to push you into reducing your emissions, we need to do just that. Make no mistake, oil companies need to become greener to survive and that means cutting their carbon emissions so drastically that their survival is threatened. However, we cannot escape the fact that every one of us is responsible for the personal legacy we leave behind. The least we can do as individuals is to ensure we leave the world better than we found it and not ruin it for future generations.