Footprints are the physical evidence of someone’s presence at a particular location. One such footprint is the carbon footprint; a unique and disastrous footprint left by us humans on Earth! It is expressed as the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), generated as a consequence of our activities on Earth’s ecological surroundings. Estimating the carbon footprint of an individual is a tricky business. Traditionally, sum of all the possible emissions from various activities in one’s life is used to calculate one’s carbon footprint. But, studies show this may be inaccurate due to inconsistencies in the assessment methods, which often focus on specific activities and sources of emissions. Simplest of our activities’ ranging from using electricity to running a company/industry contribute to rise in CO2 levels and hence, our carbon footprint.
Earth’s atmosphere absorbs some of the electromagnetic radiation coming from the Sun and in turn, radiates heat as infrared radiation. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) like CO2 and methane, present in the Earth’s atmosphere, absorb and retain some of this escaping heat and warm the atmosphere. Rising levels of GHGs, especially CO2, increases the mean temperature of Earth’s atmosphere over a long period resulting in global warming. Increase in global temperature by even few degrees can attribute to multiple issues such as droughts, famines and floods.
Small changes in our lifestyle like walking, cycling or car pooling instead of driving individually, using electricity judiciously and on a bigger scale, implementation of the carbon tax, can help reduce our carbon footprint. Next time, think twice before you switch on that light or drive your car. This massive challenge can only be dealt with by lifestyle changes and awareness at a societal scale.