With the new year only just beginning, what better way than to start it by getting to know and be aware of the current state of our climate, as well as help reduce the carbon footprint? So, here are four things we can do to help reduce it.
What is carbon footprint?
What is carbon footprint? Well, according to The Nature Conservancy, carbon footprint is the ‘total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions.’
And what does it have to do with the ‘greenhouse effect’?
Remember the ‘greenhouse effect’ we learned at school? Here’s a summary for you: the greenhouse effect is the natural process of how the sun warms the Earth’s surface. It’s called a greenhouse effect because, you see, when the sun enters the greenhouse, the glass wall traps the heat in, which in turn warms up the air inside the greenhouse. So, when the greenhouse gases that we release into the atmosphere trap the sun’s heat, they warm the average global temperature, thus causing it to rise.
This is widely known as global warming.
According to a current WWF report (2020), nearly half of the UK’s carbon footprint comes from emissions released overseas to satisfy UK-based consumption. These emissions account for 46% of the UK’s carbon footprint, however between 1990 and 2016, emissions had reduced to 41%, but the consumption-based footprint only dropped to 15%. This is because most goods and services come from abroad. Moreover, Prof. John Barrett stated that it is ‘essential’ that the UK commits to reducing its emissions both inside and outside the UK to sufficiently respond to the climate crisis.
Different Ways to reduce carbon footprint
To move forward, here are some easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint!
1) Eat organically and locally
The food we eat can have a significant impact on our environment. For instance, consuming meat and dairy requires a lot of land, water and energy to produce. Therefore, you can reduce this by eating fewer animal products, especially red meat, and/or choosing a plant-based diet. You can also purchase locally grown foods as this takes less resources and energy for transport in comparison to foods that are being shipped from overseas. Not only does it reduce your carbon footprint, but it also supports the economy where you live.
2) Reduce food waste
Composting is good for the environment, especially for food waste. Not only can this help reduce landfill methane emissions, but it doesn’t use energy to reduce and it’s also good for your gardens! Also, this type of compost is free.
3) Use reusable bags and straws
Companies use tons of different products day to day. Whether it’s things like paper, electronic devices or packaging, it all has a carbon footprint. By reducing the amount of waste you generate, such as using re-usable bags and straws, you can make difference.
4) Walk wherever possible
Walking is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. Not only is it good for the planet, but it’s also good for your health. If you can, choose to walk to work where possible.