We hear almost daily about global warming, as well as two distinct views of what is happening to our planet. One view is that our carbon emissions and other pollution are leading to a disastrous ecological collapse and destruction of the world. The other view is that although we are causing harm, the earth is capable of repairing the damage in natural cycles of ice ages and thaws.
Whatever our view, all responsible people realize that pollution emissions are wrong and something needs to be done about them. The biggest culprit seems to be the increase in carbon dioxide level that upsets the delicate balance of our atmosphere. The impact that humanity makes is called our carbon footprint reduction.
Most of us feel deep concern when we hear about the damage being done to the world’s environment and feel quite angry at industries that carelessly emit gasses. We feel admiration for those putting themselves out on a limb to try and stop the damage and pollution.
Perhaps it is time that we looked at ourselves to see what part we play in the whole saga. What can we do? And what is a carbon footprint exactly?
If we lived as our ancestors did hundreds of years ago, we would have no combustion machinery, no manufactured products except homemade and homespun. Our food would come from our gardens or farms. The air we exhale and the wood fires we use to cook our meals would be the extent of our pollution. A small carbon footprint indeed.
Today’s sophisticated society demands all sorts of manufactured goods, a vast transport network, intensive mechanical farming, and mega food processing plants. The emissions from these industries are frightening. All of us who partake of these products are contributing our footprints.
Your carbon footprint measures your own personal output of carbon dioxide. It is measured in pounds and the larger the number, the larger your carbon footprint is.
The more advanced our economies and the more urbanized the population, the bigger each individual footprint is. In these societies, the individual household carbon footprint can be an average of 150lbs per day. This is five times the world average including large communities who pass more ‘primitive’ or rural lives.
If you want to track your own family’s carbon footprint, calculate:
- Your daily energy use. 1.5 lbs for each kW hour electricity, plus more than 2lbs wasted just getting the power into your home!
- Your gasoline daily average use. Each gallon adds 19.6lbs.
- Every 100 cubic feet of gas you use adds 12 to 12.5 lbs.
Concerned people are trying to support industries involved in conservation and reforestation as well as the preservation of the ocean resources. The forests and the seas are the lungs of the earth that take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, undoing some of our damage.