In the 21st century, the phrase ‘carbon footprint’ is often heard on the news and read on social media, but many people do not understand what it refers to. Effectively it refers to an individual’s or a corporation’s effect on the planet due to the release of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions caused by their actions. For an individual, this could be the carbon footprint caused by them taking a flight across the Atlantic, or for a corporation, it could be due to the coal that they burn to create power for a factory. However, over recent years, it has become clear that carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are harming our planet, so here we are going to take a look at why we all need to reduce our carbon footprint.
We have all seen and read about the decline in the wildlife around us, as many species are going extinct before they can be properly understood by science. Other species are dying in great numbers due to the effects of climate change. As we release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, this has the effect of increasing temperatures, and these increases can destroy the habitats of many animals that have developed their little niches over millions of years. Every winter, we read heartbreaking stories about polar bears in the arctic unable to hunt due to a lack of sea ice, and this is a direct result of our increased carbon footprint. If each human being was to make a conscientious effort to lead a carbon-neutral life, then we would give these magnificent beasts, and countless others, an opportunity to survive well into the 21st century and beyond, however, if we carry on as we are, they face certain extinction.
The increase in carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere has had a profound effect on our planet’s health as a whole. In the last 50 years, weather patterns have changed enormously, leading to more adverse weather events such as hurricanes and tsunamis. Many previously arid regions are experiencing increased rainfall, and due to rising temperatures, ice is melting from the polar regions, which are causing sea levels to rise. If our overall carbon footprint is not reduced, then these sea level rises will put the lives in jeopardy of many millions of people who live in coastal regions around the world as coastlines will be eroded, and cities will be flooded. The impact of global warming on the environment really will shape the way that we all live on our planet for years to come.
One of the main drivers of climate change is our use of fossil fuels to produce energy, as the emissions that are produced lead to an increase in temperatures. However, there is another effect that is to our health, as the released particles hang in the air, leading to breathing complications for many people. Indeed, many cities are enveloped by a cloud of pollution that makes daily life a chore for their inhabitants, especially those suffering from health issues such as asthma. This has led to the development of other means of producing power, from tidal, solar, or nuclear sources. Jemima from TheSolarAdvantage.net explains that solar energy, for example, is safe, clean, and sustainable, so is a much more viable renewable fuel source for the future than the deadly fossil fuels that are currently burnt.
Solar plants can be installed at a local level, meaning communities can share the benefits of reducing the carbon footprint that switching to a clean energy producer can bring.
With the world heating up, there are clear impacts on localized economies because many people rely on the land or the sea for sustenance. As temperatures rise, the land becomes harder as there is less rain, which affects the yield of the crops grown. Over time, land that was once prime for pasture has become so dry that nothing will grow, which can have a devastating impact on the local economy, to say nothing of the nourishment and nutrition of the local people. Reducing your carbon footprint will slow the rise of global warming, helping to keep rural economies afloat.
Reducing our carbon footprint is something that every one of us should strive to do because unless we have a herd mentality, the impact will be barely felt. The more people that understand the dangers that global warming can bring to our planet, the bigger difference that can be made, and we will all benefit as the health of our planet, our population, and our economies will rise to levels that our ancestors were used to.