What’s your carbon footprint?

How often did you hear on the news claims like: “Carbon emissions are at-risk level”, or “Our carbon footprint will affect future generations for years to come!”. It sounds scary, doesn’t it? Let’s find out, as always, together.

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When thinking about our impact on the Planet, anything that changes the balances too quickly should sound like that. However, if we are aware of the impact of our everyday actions, we could work out some strategies to try to reduce them.

But first, let’s understand what the carbon footprint is.

The carbon footprint is the total emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) of an individual, household, country and so on. GHG are often indicated to be the primary drivers of climate change and include carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide and vapour water. All of these gases are in our atmosphere: climate change or the depletion of the ozone hole are a result of an alteration of the balance of the gases, which sees the human beings as the main responsible.

Today, we are lucky to have some tools to help us calculate our GHG emissions, in order to understand how much we impact on our Planet. These are known as carbon calculator, and for this article, I used the one provided by Carbon Footprint ™.

The use of the calculator is pretty easy: it is divided into sections, where you are going to insert your data and then everything will be summed up and compared to the average of your country.

Don’t be scared of making assumptions! The calculator is a tool that will help you realise, more or less, how heavy is your footprint.

In my case, it turned out that my annual carbon footprint is much heavier than the UK average: to be honest, I did not expect to be so “bad” to the environment, that’s why it is time to set some goals and reduce it.

But how?

The calculator provides a link at the end of your calculation with some general tips on how to try to go back within the national average, but I will provide 3 actions that you might be less familiar with.

  1. Eat less meat. I am not a vegetarian, I love meat. I try to consume it ethically, but I don’t think I will never quit it for good. However, meat production is responsible for huge amounts of GHG emissions. Around 70% of the world’s soybean production is used for livestock feeding, while only 7% for human food. Soy plantation is one of the main responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon. We know that trees are natural carbon storage, so it’s easy to see the impact of the meat industry on our environment (and don’t forget, all this livestock must be powered, washed and so on). Basically, we are clearing down the forests around the world to make burgers, is it really worth it?
  2. Buy second-hand goods. Girls, don’t hate me, just follow me here. Imagine your nice dress, fabricated thousands of miles away from your house, shipped to the store, you drive to the store, buy it, wear it once, and leave it in your wardrobe waiting for another “special occasions”. Now, I understand everyone has the necessity of appearing nice and fresh, we all want to look like Johnny Depp in our 50s, but the truth is that, sometimes, we should stop and think about how far that dress has travelled, and maybe just once a year decide to leave the shop and go to your local charities and buy it second-hand. You won’t look like a celebrity to your friends, but your Planet will be very grateful.
  3. BUY A BICYCLE! For 3 years of my life, I lived in London and I went to work day by day/ season by season riding my NoLogo bike. I will not waste your time in listing all the benefits of being active, you already have your step counter app. I just want you to close your eyes and try to remember the first time you rode a bike, your dad or mom behind you holding you in line and then they were suddenly gone, it was you and your bicycle. After a 9 o 5, don’t choke in the tube, ride! Get wet! Argue with pedestrians crossing without checking! Argue with taxi drivers cutting you on the sidewalk! In short, be alive!

These were my little tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint. Use the calculator and share your results with us, it is a breezy evening in the UK, black clouds are on their way ready to ruin everyone’s plan, time for a ride then!

Get involved in the endless discussion about carbon footprint and don’t forget to stay Green!

What is The Green Post?

The Green Post was created by an idea of Gianluca Di Marco, a fellow student of The Open University with a strong passion for the environment.

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Nowadays, we hear and read lots of talks and articles about how fragile our environment is, and the approach needed to safeguard it for future generations. Even though the commitment of the scientific community and volunteers around the world is to be considered noble, I always found it hard to comprehend the complex interactions of different ecosystems of our Planet.

The mission of The Green Post is to break down complex subjects into easy and funny stories, providing useful information and sharing my passion for our Planet.

Sit down, grab your mug, and lose yourself into the wonders of our Environment!