Tag Archives: your carbon footprint

Tracking Your Carbon Footprint

global footprint
The 11th Hour

This planet has roughly two hundred countries across its continents. In all its diversity, there is one common concern that it must address before the effects become irreversible, global climate change.

Climate change is apart of the earth’s natural course, which involves changes in weather and temperature. Unfortunately, due to human influences, the rise of the industrial revolution has left adverse effects on the Earth’s natural stability[1].

Through practice we can preserve the earth’s resources for future generations. We often forget that humans are not the only species on Earth; we are joined by billions of different species on this planet. Not only are we destroying our own environment but we are also impacting ecosystems all over the world. As a community, we should help society contribute to leading a more sustainable life.

We can do so by reducing our carbon footprint. If you are unfamiliar with it, the term “carbon footprint” is used to describe the impact an individual has on our planet. By impact, we mean the level of consumption that one uses and the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the environment as a result [2].  There are many contributing factors to a person’s carbon footprint including energy use, transportation and general lifestyle choices such as our diet [3]. Reducing our carbon footprint will mean regulating our general utilization and perhaps, making a few lifestyle changes which will contribute to the overall preservation of the environment.

Being conscious of the environment and living a renewable lifestyle, involves us practicing more environmentally friendly methods. For example, the city of Burnaby has a garbage and recycling program that also collects household food waste [4]. Many local communities, like this one, have effective plans in order to reduce their carbon footprint.

As an individual, there are a few simple ways that we can contribute to the environment. To preserve energy, we can try switching to energy efficient light bulbs or investing in high-energy appliances; they use less power and preserve more water. We should only use what we need; gluttony is not an attractive sin. We must also remember to recycle everything possible. Tedious? Yes. But think about the waste we are keeping out of the landfills. Many recycling depots also offer to recycle old and used electronics that are taking up space in storage.

The reality of the issue is that we are not doing enough to reduce our carbon footprint. According to Andrew Sims, a writer of the Guardian, conducted an article on August 23, 2013 stating that ” the world goes into ecological debt, or “overshoot” – an estimate of the moment in the year when humanity has consumed more natural resources and created more waste than our biosphere can replace and safely absorb over a 12-month period”[5]. This means, in 8 months, we have already consumed more from the planet than it can replace in a years time. Here’s another way to look at it; imagine filling up your garbage bin to the top and having it be the only garbage bin in your household. You keep filling it up and it flows over until the city comes to collect it. You’ve used the entire volume of the bin and the garbage has nowhere to go but sit there and pile up. These are some of the ways climate change impacts our lifestyle and how our lifestyle impacts climate change.

As inhabitants of this fine planet, we need to focus on what is best for our environment by contributing as a community to make our societies a more sustainable atmosphere. This focus does not always require a drastic change. Often, it is the little changes that will make the most difference. So, sit back and think. Are you satisfied with the way you live or are you willing to provide for the greater good of the planet? To make your decision, go online to find a carbon footprint calculator and see how we can all begin to make a difference.

[1] (Government of Canada, 2012)

[2] (Dictionary.com)

[3] (David Suzuki Foundation)

[4] (City of Burnaby)

[5] (Simms, 2013)