Going Green and Your Carbon Footprint

What does it mean?

by Mrs. Diakia Straker

With the threat of climate change looming over our future, strategic action must be taken to ensure that we prevent the devastations that this may cause. Though the science may be complex, the consensus is that we have to decrease our greenhouse gas emission to net zero by 2050.

While action has to be taken by large co-operations and governments, strategic action on our parts as citizen and consumers, is also necessary. We should try to use more green technology in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint.

Our carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds we emit by our consumption of fossil fuels. It also encapsulates the emission of harmful greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide. Currently, much of our everyday activities, such as cooking, driving, travelling, etc., involve the consumption of fossils fuels, thereby emitting several forms of harmful greenhouse gases. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere, which then causes the earth to warm at an unnatural pace.

As consumers, we must ensure that our individual actions lessen the impact on the environment and by extension the impending climate crisis. We can play our part; we can do this by ‘Going Green’. That is, we limit our participation in activities that emit greenhouse gases and by finding new environmentally-friendly ways to consume energy. These measures will help to ensure that we help with reducing carbon emissions.

‘Going Green’ is smart because it will improve our lives in so many ways. There are monetary benefits that can be gained from going green. For example, installing solar panels can help reduce and even eliminate your electricity bill. Installing enough panels can produce more energy than an individual household can consume, and may also provide an opportunity to sell that energy to the electricity provider and earn some additional income. Purchasing energy efficient products and appliances is also another way to “Go Green”.  These actions will allow us to save on our electricity bill, while being more environmentally-friendly.

Limiting our participation in certain activities and finding better ways to consume energy while completing these activities, will help with reducing greenhouse gas emission, thereby decreasing our carbon footprint.

Simpler action can be taken to combat climate change. One such way is by finding different ways to travel – instead of driving to work, try walking, riding a bike or carpooling if possible. Going carless for one year could save approximately 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide, according to a 2017 study by Lund University et al.

Though our individual action may seem insignificant, research has shown that it can have an immense impact. As noted by the United Nations campaign for individual action, “Every one of us can help limit global warming and take care of our planet. By making choices that have less harmful effects on the environment, we can be part of the solution and influence change.”