Carbon footprint

Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that is released into the atmosphere by an individual, institute or a community as an outcome of performing specific activities.

There is a dire need to reduce the carbon footprint while practicing a lifestyle or running a business. However, calculating one’s exact carbon footprint poses a challenge. An approximate carbon footprint can be calculated through the accumulation of as many emissions pathways as is viable. The factors included in the calculation are the kilometers traveled by private or public transportation such as cars, two-wheelers, buses, trains, trams and metro, the energy used in a household or a business building, how much is spent on commodities and the composition of one’s diet (Foodprint). 




There are certain changes that an individual or an organization can adopt in their lifestyle to witness a significant reduction in their carbon footprint. Emissions from transportation are a major contributor to everyone’s footprint. To decrease that, individuals can use cycling and walking as modes of transportation for short distances and public transport for longer ones. Businesses can source their raw materials from their own countries and try sending final goods in bulk to avoid multiple trips. ‘Foodprint’ also considerably increases one’s carbon footprint. Eating locally sourced food not only reduces food miles- the distance your food travels before it reaches your plate- but it is also proven to be better for one’s health. Lastly, using renewable energy to power most functions would also help improve one’s carbon footprint.

Plastic is very well known for increasing carbon emissions. Over 500,000 straws are used every day creating many problems for the environment. Starbucks, one of the most famous coffeehouse chains, has targeted to be completely strawless by the end of this year by using a strawless lid for all iced beverages. This is already in practice in most of their main locations.

In recent times, the carbon footprints of both households and workplaces have notably reduced as an effect of social distancing due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Businesses have been employing ‘work from home’ practices and the decrease in air travel is evident.

It is still uncertain whether the carbon footprints for everyone (everyone's carbon footprint) will go back to its original figure (state) after the situation is settled. However, one can always measure their carbon footprint online on sites like https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx and work towards decreasing it.






Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/apr/04/carbon-footprint-calculated

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/social-distancing-climate-change-coronavirus-carbon-footprint/