Greenhouse gas emissions are changing our planet. According to the EPA, climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, wind patterns, or storms (among other things) that occur over several decades or longer.
Know Your Footprint
According the The Union of Concerned Scientists, the average carbon emissions per person in the United States is 17.62 mT per person, or the equivalent to keeping 3.7 passenger cars on the road for a year. Our carbon footprints come from a variety of sources including the following:
Additional carbon emissions come from the energy and materials used to produce the products we buy.
How It All Works
Our carbon footprint is the sum total of how our everyday activities impact the environment. It’s measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). CO2 is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases. Understanding how big your carbon footprint is—or how much your lifestyle impacts the environment—is a key first step in living sustainably. You can’t manage what you don’t measure!
Think of it in terms of getting a diagnosis of high cholesterol when you visit your doctor.
- Your doctor does a blood test to measure your cholesterol levels. (Carbon Footprint Calculator)
- If your cholesterol is high, the first thing you might do is try to lower it by changing your lifestyle, with things like exercising more or eating healthier. (Recycling, walking, using less electricity, etc.)
- If that’s not enough, you might also need to take medicine to help control your high cholesterol. (Carbon Offsets)
Start leading a sustainable life by following the three T’s.
Transport – Limit the amount of energy you use getting from place to place. If you really want to make a lasting dent in your carbon footprint, look no further than your daily commute. Walk, bike, carpool, or bus to work every day, and save your car for special occasions.
Turn Off – It’s as simple as using less electricity. Make sure anything that uses energy is cut off when you’re not using it. Major appliances, such as dishwashers, dryers, and hot water heaters use major amounts of energy. Hand wash dishes, dry clothes outside, and take short showers.
Trash – It’s scary how much waste we generate every day without thinking. Pay attention to packaging, refill water bottles, reuse grocery bags, and see how long you can go without creating any trash. And if you do, make sure it’s recyclable.
Take the first step.
Start small. Be conscious of the impact your actions have on the environment and figure out what you can do to lessen the blow. Calculate, conserve, and offset.Purchase Offsets