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Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint is a term used to describe how man's individual activities contribute to the accumulation of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases block the transmission of reflected heat and this triggers global warming and induces erratic climatic patterns.

Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint that is large adds to this problem. If not abated, global warming will raise global temperature by as much as 2.5 degrees Centigrade by year 2100, melting the polar ice caps, raising sea levels and lead to the inundation of low-lying areas. Moreover, shorelines will recede. Experts estimate sea levels to rise by as much as 1 meter. Since this is a global phenomenon, it is mandatory that each country share in the drive to reduce its carbon footprint and preserve planet Earth.

What causes the rapid accumulation of greenhouse gasses?

Scientists maintain that massive production activities during the industrial revolution (early part of the 20th century) started it all. Factories that churn out cars, trucks, appliances, food items, clothing and air travel all contributed to the build-up of greenhouse gases.

The emergence of pertinent technologies likewise altered the lifestyle of humans. Even for short distances, man would drive his car instead of walking. In the home, we extensively use appliances such as washing machines, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, air-conditioners or coolers, heaters. All these appliances draw electricity and thereby contribute to the rise of people's individual carbon footprint.

Man's imprudent reliance on technology is instrumental in the rapid deterioration of the environment, contributing to our carbon footprint. Every energy intensive activity is matched with a corresponding carbon footprint rating. Driving a car is rated 15-percent; electricity eats up 12-percent; recreation and leisure activities get 14-percent, public services is 12-percent and holiday flights are 6-percent.

If everybody else takes their share of the burden seriously through a gradual shift in lifestyles, reduced dependence on fossil-fuel burning vehicles and the incessant use of electricity, we can reduce our carbon footprint enormously.

A recent study revealed that in homes, shifting from the use of incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 4-percent. This is one simple action people can take today to reduce their carbon footprint.

What are the necessary steps to take?

Man's carbon footprint falls under two categories including the primary and secondary footprint. To reduce your primary footprint, lessen air travel during vacations. If possible, tap electricity from power plants that harness renewable energy (hydro, wind, geothermal). Use solar heaters for your home's heating and cooling needs. Avoid using the car and instead use the public transport system and when really necessary adopt the "share a car" scheme to reduce the travel footprint.

Secondary carbon footprint refers to goods and materials that are life sustaining. For example, when buying groceries, try to avoid imported products or those shipped from distant plants because the fact of transportation raises emission levels.

If the tap water is safe, why insist on consuming bottled water, particularly if its spring water or of volcanic origins. While being transported from far-off locations, the manufacture of plastic bottles generates a considerable volume of emissions.

The best way to help curb greenhouse gas emissions is to extensively plant trees. Dense vegetation absorbs hazardous carbon dioxide emissions, thereby improving your carbon footprint rating.

Areas that have been left unattended following forest fires or perhaps left barren by unscrupulous loggers should be planted right away with trees as it takes decades to grow the required forest cover. So, instead of going on holidays far, far away as Shrek would say, why not involve your family in a tree planting expedition that will not only be fun, but fulfilling as well.

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