Jack loves to follow up a tough footie match with steak, medium rare, like it should be.
Carol loves driving to work every day, stopping by her local cafe for a flat white before taking on rush hour traffic.
Felix is a cautious driver, he always keeps his headlights on as bright as possible all the way home, even before the sun has set.
Jenny in admin believes in having long showers every day to wash away her stress.
As harmless as these sound, do you know each of them is contributing to a surprisingly high carbon footprint?
What is the carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint, simply put, is the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by any product, person, event, organization or service. GHGs include Carbon Di-Oxide (CO2), Water Vapor (H2O), Methane (CH4), Ozone (O3) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O), and other fluorinated gases.
Why is carbon footprint so important?
High carbon footprint would mean that the environment is at risk due to that activity. Every individual, organization or country must work towards having as low a carbon footprint as possible. Australia, for instance, has one of the highest per capita carbon footprints (Its population accounts for 0.3% of the world but its emissions account for 1.07% of the world).
What contributes to a high carbon footprint?
The top sectors contributing to Australia’s carbon footprint are electricity, 33%; transport, 18%; stationary energy (excluding electricity), 17%; agriculture, 13%; fugitive emissions, 10%; industrial processes, 6%; and waste, 3%.
How can we bring down our carbon footprint?
The easiest methods to reduce a carbon footprint can start from the simplest of actions.
Reduce fossil fuels
As of 2017, transport accounted for 18% of the 556.4 Mt CO2eq GHG emissions in Australia. One of the first things we can do is to reduce fossil fuel burning and emissions. This can be achieved by either reducing vehicle usage or travel, and by using more energy efficient fuel consumption methods. Taking public transport methods such as trains, or following a carpool technique would help Carol bring down her carbon footprint. Alternately, moving to an electric vehicle would significantly bring down the carbon emission contribution and turn her into a green citizen.
Sustainable energy solutions @ Home
The next target is electricity. Nearly 33% of Australia’s GHG emissions are due to electricity. The natural solution would be to follow sustainable energy solutions within our home, such as the ones offered by SR Portables. These would help reduce the electricity consumption and leave a positive impact on the environment. Turning all lights off when not using them, using energy efficient bulbs/lamps and having smart home illumination systems would turn Felix into a green citizen.
Include Vegetarian/Vegan Diets
Animal products lead to a high carbon footprint as compared to vegetable produce. Incorporating healthy vegetarian diets in the weekly schedule, or turning fully vegan will help reduce the carbon footprint. If Jack would stay away from beef/lamb (and still continue eating meat) he would have his individual carbon footprint almost equal to that of a vegetarian counterpart.
Water is the very elixir of all our existence in the world – and also has a healthy, organic method to keep everything clean and pure. Saving water by using efficient shower heads, switching off the water taps when not using them, and opting for disposing items instead of flushing them down would all lead to Jenny turning into a green citizen.
There are of course, many more ways by which we can contribute to a safer, cleaner, environment with a low carbon footprint. We will be focusing on these methods in our future columns.
Go Green – Make the change now!