“As per the 2016 national footprint account, current year’s carbon footprint stands 16% higher than 2015.”
The given statistics might not appear scary, but changing climatic conditions have raised concerns over our every move. From the glaciers melting to severe heat waves, and stronger hurricanes; slowly the change is taking a toll on the human life and the increasing greenhouse gas emission is the reason behind it.
If we talk about the US specifically, “the average carbon emission coming from the homes, cars, air travels, and other daily activities figures around 50,000 pounds a year”. In my opinion, solving climate change has become a huge challenge, for which setting strong standards for control won’t be enough. The solution would require individuals and businesses contributing their bit right from where they are.
It is suggested that the emission could be brought down by a significant level if each individual makes 5 changes in his/her daily routine. If you are thinking from where to begin, here are a few changes that could reduce one’s carbon footprint considerably sooner than planned.
• Pick Laptops Over Desktop
The recommendation seems absolutely obvious as a regular 17 Inch LCD desktop monitor requires much higher energy to run. Where a Desktop consumes 0.7 – 2.3 kWh of energy in 8 hours, a laptop merely requires 0.1 – 0.4 kWh to support similar working schedule.
• Unplug Your Devices
There are devices that feed on the energy even when they are switched off. To cut down the energy consumed by such devices, use a power strip and unplug your gadgets and devices when not in use. Also, power down your computer when you aren’t using it; a desktop when shut down uses 65% less energy compared to when left idle.
• Why Not Telecommute or Teleconference?
As per a case study, about 1.5 million Canadians are working from home once a week to bring down the total car usage. The practice could possibly result in saving about 250 kg of carbon emission each year.
• Use Cold Water
Use cold water for washing dishes, doing laundry, and bathing unless it is inevitable. This will help you to limit your energy wastage on heating items.
• Avoid Red Meat
A large share of red meat comes from animals like sheep and beef that emit a large amount of methane. Stats show that the average carbon emission of a family consuming beef outweighs the total energy consumed in the running and construction of a big 4WD vehicle.
In swearing off meat for 1 day we minimise our #WaterConsumption AND lessen our #CarbonFootprint. https://t.co/epyEoRwKkE #MeatlessMonday
— Global Action Plan (@gapireland) July 11, 2016
• Consume Season Produced
The journey of a meal from pasture to plate extends to 1,200 to 2,500 miles on an average. Transporting food requires petroleum-based fuels, and contributes to over 13% of the total carbon emission recorded in America.
Did you know that eating #localfood could reduce your #carbonfootprint by 13%? https://t.co/njfNClbuHF pic.twitter.com/XxKK9k8iiu
— Good Food Oxford (@GoodFoodOxford) July 5, 2016
• Intelligent Lighting
Apart from changing his/her approach, one could contribute to the cause by investing in smart technologies that help in day to day energy conservation. Replace your normal light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. Changing your regular bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb can save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.
• Keep A Check Over Your Thermostat
Keeping your thermostat at 20oC in winters and 25oC in summer not just help you to save money on your electricity bills; two degrees cooler in winter or warmer in summer could also reduce the carbon emission by 2,000 pounds a year.
• Walk, Car Pool, Or Go For Mass Transit When Possible
Many of our car trips distance even less than 3 Kms. In such cases commuting on foot or riding a bicycle will be a cheaper and a greenhouse-friendly alternative. Cars use gallons of oil and contribute to the total carbon footprint significantly, prefer to take mass transits or pool cars if you seek to make a difference.
• Take Care Of Your Car
Your car offers higher mileage if it’s timely serviced and the tires are properly inflated. For every one gallon of gas saved, we nearly prevent 20 pounds of carbon emission.
Offset What You Can’t Avoid
For the damage that can’t be saved, offsetting could be a worthwhile option. It includes investing money in the companies that would utilize those dollars in starting up a renewable energy project or afforestation.
You will come across various sources that will suggest you to invest your dollars in carbon offsetting; however, in my opinion curbing the release of carbon dioxide by the ways listed above is the best option to cure the climate so far.
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