Your Carbon Footprint
I want to attach a post I did a while ago about the carbon footprint. I wrote it in 2009 when I started my very first blog. It has some good information about what exactly a carbon footprint is and I even included some basic tips on how to lessen your impact on the earth.
The Carbon Footprint..What is a carbon footprint? It’s not the new sneaker store opening in PG plaza or Mondawmin. A carbon footprint is a measure of greenhouse gases that you emit during your daily activites that affect the planet. Things like how much you drive your car, or how much electricity you use have an effect on our enviroment and contributes to global warming. If you go to www.carbonfootprint.com , you can actually take a test to measure what you carbon footprint is and even has steps to lessen it. I scored a 5.39 tons of CO2 per year which is really low(and quite good), but it can be better. Most of this comes from the fact that I use electricity in my home instead of gas, and I drive to work instead of catching the bus(this is mostly for safety reasons; it’s b-more people). And it also measures other things like how much organic food you eat and how much packaging is in the things you buy. I eat my fair share of organic food, but we are in a recession and I had to buy the generic (but still healthy) stuf. I didn’t realize this but packaging also has a direct effect on our carbon footprint. The more packaging a product has, the more waste we create, thereby filling up landfills with more waste. And most packaging is non biodegradable so that means that it has no way of breaking down and becoming a renewable source. These things(mostly plastics) end up in our rivers, oceans, and forests and can have devastating effects on our wildlife. I shop a lot too, but most of the things I buy like clothes and shoes are usually given away to the thrifts stores or other charitable organizations. I know that the point is to buy less to create less waste and only buy things that you need. I’ll stretch a little on the last point to say that it’s ok to splurge every now and then, but do know what you’re buying, what ingredients are used, and if the packaging is recycled and biodegradable. The average carbon footprint in the US is 20.40 tons per person. On the webiste, it looks like Shaq’s shoe size compared to mine. But that’s huge and it’s very worrisome. Average industrial nations use about 11 tons of CO2 per year and the world as a whole uses 4 tons. The world target to combat climate change is at 2 tons per year. Do I think that the average American is willing to make sacrifices for the greater good our planet to make this achieveable? Maybe, but honestly I doubt it. But think about it like this..we already know how to cut back on energy so that it doesn’t make a huge dent in our wallets by keeping the lights off when we’re not using them or not using the heat/ac when it get’s hot or cold. Most of us who don’t own a car already catch the bus or subway. And since being broke is ‘in’ these days, not too many of us are buying a lot of stuf. So why does it seem like I’m so pessimistic?
Because next to money and sex, people who have cars love them to death and even give them names like stacy, and lucille and would not walk to the corner store even if it means it will save them gas. I know people who go joyriding just to get out of the house. A couple of years when gas was almost $5/gal I knew of someone who was set in their ways that they had to just go out for a ride because this person was bored. Nevermind the fact that this person went out during the daytime where you burn up more gas anyway and where there’s more traffic. I’m pessimistic because as obesity grows and becomes more and more out of control, more and more people are becoming lazy. I work for a retail store and I promise you that everyday that I’m up there, there are customers, (who could sure use the excercise) don’t want to walk from point a of the store to point b because they think it’s too far. So they sit and complain because the store is ‘too big’ and some even walk out without paying/returning their purchase. When I was pregnant, I took the bus/rail to work and had to walk over a mile to work from the bus stop up until I was 7 months pregnant. I just don’t get the excuses. Of course, it doesn’t help when on every corner you go to, there’s a fried chicken joint, a liquor store, and SAVE A LOT that doesn’t offer healthier options. Oh and btw good luck on the 50 million pound challenge that sheila dixon is trying to get the city into because I’m really curious at how she’s gonna accomplish that(Note: this was written in 2009, so Shiela is out, but I’m not sure if Stepahnie Rawlings-Blake is still pushing this program). And I’m more pessimistic because I feel that we in the community feel empowered when we have material things, especially things we don’t neccessarily need. As I’ve said before, buying things, a lot of things, especially things we don’t need, this creates too much waste, attracts vermin, and is simply not good for our planet. Sure the city or county officials can step up their game a bit on trash pick up, but has anyone really asked us was we can do? And are we really that serious?
All of this has a major impact on our carbon footprint and our contribution to climate change. The key word here is SACRFICE. What are we willing to sacrifice so that our next generation can live on a sustanible planet. This is about our survival as a species and if we continue to go about business as usual, then it can have devastating affects on not just our planet but our livelihood. Basic ways to lessen out carbon footprint would be to drive less, carpool(it’s hard, I know) and recycle. But also, buy in-season produce, organic produce, local food, buying new clothes when you need them, and to try to get less items with less packaging.