Every year in the U.S. over 3.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions are released into the air. Over three-quarters of these emissions are man-made and are created by the burning of fossil fuels for transportation.
As the U.S. economy continues to expand and increase its demand for electricity and fossil fuels, more greenhouse gases will pollute our air supply and add to the growing concern of global warming. Global warming is a gradual increase in the Earth’s temperature, and if carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continue to build up in the air, rising temperatures will make Earth virtually impossible to live on.
So how can you personally have an impact on global warming and the sustainability of the environment? The first thing you should do is to recognize how you contribute directly or indirectly to the greenhouse gas problem. Then you need to figure out how you can reduce your carbon dioxide contributions and increase your green practices.
You can do all of this by knowing your carbon footprint.
What is your carbon footprint?
Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activities. It is measured in units of carbon dioxide.
Why measure carbon dioxide?
Carbon dioxide is the most harmful of the greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases also produce methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons (also known as aerosols), but all of these have the element of carbon in common.
What are the two parts of a carbon footprint?
Your carbon footprint has two different parts:
- Primary Footprint – Measure of direct human emissions of carbon dioxide created by the burning of fossil fuels. These include energy consumers like electricity and modes of transportation.
- Secondary Footprint – Measure of indirect human emissions of carbon dioxide that are created by the shipping and manufacturing of a product. This includes food and drink items from foreign countries.
What does a person’s typical carbon footprint consist of?
Every person contributes carbon dioxide emissions into the air in one way or another. Even everyday activities that seem virtually harmless can increase your carbon footprint and add to the greenhouse gas problem. Here are a few activities that contribute to your carbon footprint:
- Car emissions
- Public transportation
- Eating & drinking
- Clothes & personal items
- Recreational activities
You can check out a list of total carbon emissions and their sources here.
The best way to calculate your total carbon dioxide contributions is to complete a carbon footprint calculator. Carbon footprint calculators measure your total carbon emissions based on what you do at home and how you travel.
You can purchase carbon offsets, or carbon credits, from companies that will use a variety of methods to reduce your carbon footprint.
You would be amazed to know how much carbon dioxide you contribute to the air every day just by waking up and going to work. From brushing your teeth to driving a car, all of these activities increase your carbon footprint. You can start to reduce your carbon footprint and begin living an eco lifestyle by following some simple steps.
Carbon credits are a great way to reduce your greenhouse emissions. They can be exchanged between businesses or bought by regular people who want to lower their carbon footprint.