Every day while commuting, eating our food, manufacturing products or just spending time with our family, we are adding to the carbon emissions of the planet without even realizing it. Carbon is released as carbon dioxide and other toxic gases and chemicals, this increases the carbon footprint. The levels of carbon addition by each individual are known as their carbon footprints. This is influenced by their modes of travel, the food they prefer, the choices made at their homes, the amount and type of waste products from their house, etc.
As we have all read, carbon dioxide is responsible for greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide gas has the ability to capture the sun’s rays (heat) and keeps the earth’s atmosphere warmer. With increasing amount of carbon gases that include carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, the planet is getting warmer. This is also known as global warning.
Global warming can have devastating effects on our planet. It has started to make holes in the ozone layer of the earth. Ozone layer covers the earth’s atmosphere and prevents the harmful rays of the sun from reaching us.
When the planet starts getting hotter, climatic changes begin to happen. Glaciers start melting and as a consequence, the sea levels will rise. When this happens, coastlines, islands, mangroves and countries will be affected. Both human and animal life will be at danger. Frequent occurrences of Tsunamis and tidal waves can wreck havoc.
Carbon footprints of various products
Obviously, the carbon footprints of various substances vary with the levels of carbon dioxide emissions. A 5000 mile air travel will emit about one ton of carbon dioxide. The same amount is released if you drive in a moderate-sized car for 2500 miles of if a 40 feet tree with a trunk diameter of 1 foot is felled and burned.
Other than carbon dioxide the other greenhouse gases are nitrous oxide and methane. The carbon footprint calculator takes all these gases into account and measures your contribution to the atmosphere.
Carbon additions through electricity generation
Thermal generation of electricity that uses coal, as a fuel releases the maximum amount of carbon emissions. Thermal power generation is done by burning of coal, the main constituent of which is carbon. Carbon footprints of various energy generation processes are given below. Starting with coal, which releases the maximum amount of greenhouse gas the list ends with wind energy generation, which is the most environment-friendly process.
Carbon footprint levels in various activities in our daily life are:
The type of home you live in, whether it’s an apartment building, a mobile home and the number of bedrooms it has influences the carbon emission. The place where you live too has an impact on the amounts that you release.
Driving and flying
The frequency with which you travel and the type of vehicle you use determines your carbon emission via commuting.
Food and diet
The amount of meat, the length that it has traveled also increases the carbon footprint. Locally grown produce has a lower carbon footprint.
Recycling and waste
When you recycle products or use products made of recycled material, you are reducing your carbon footprint.
The total carbon footprint will depend on all the above factors.