What is Carbon Footprint and How to Reduce It?

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Lately, we may have  heard recommendations to calculate our carbon footprint and take steps to lessen it. The attempt to reduce carbon footprints aims to tackle global warming, which is still happening today. But, what exactly is a carbon footprint? What are the causes? Then, what are the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint? Instead of being confused, let’s scroll down this article to get to know more about carbon footprints!

What is a carbon footprint and what are the causes?

In a nutshell, a person’s carbon footprint is the entire amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that are generated from our daily activities. Transportation, electricity, and water consumption on a daily basis, as well as the meals we eat, are all examples. Let’s take a closer look at each of these causes one by one!

1. Transportation sector

Various activities that we do everyday require us to move from one place to another. So, no wonder that many people spend their daily time using various forms of transportation, such as motorbikes, cars, buses, and planes. In fact, when these vehicles are used, they emit pollution and emissions that harm air quality. According to figures from the International Energy Agency in 2015, the transportation sector accounted for 30% of total CO2 emissions in Indonesia. Furthermore, land transportation accounted for 88 percent of the total. 

2. Electrical energy usage

Currently, non-renewable energy sources such as coal provide the majority of the electricity we consume on a daily basis. As a result, the more electricity used, the more carbon emissions are produced by power plants using fossil fuels. Let’s see how many electronic devices you use on a daily basis that demand electricity. Lights, air conditioners, televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, computers, and maybe many others are just a few examples. There’s a lot, right?

3. Food production, consumption, and wastage

The food we eat on a daily basis does not magically appear; it has through a long production process. Food carbon footprints are the greenhouse gas emissions created throughout the process, from raw material production to processing and disposal. Food waste can cause greenhouse gas emissions when they pile and decompose in landfills. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food waste produces around 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases each year, which are then released into the atmosphere.

So, what can we do to make a difference in terms of reducing our carbon footprint?

Of course, we won’t be able to entirely stop using electricity, driving, or producing food. We can, however, be more environmentally conscious individuals to lessen our carbon impact. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • For a short trip, such as less than 2 kilometers, consider walking or riding a bicycle instead. You may not only save the environment but also get some exercise at the same time.
  • Prioritize using public transportation over private vehicles.
  • Conserve electricity by turning it off when not in use. For example, while sleeping you might want to turn off the lights.
  • Consume less meat and other foods with a high carbon footprint.
  • Finish all of your food so it doesn’t go to waste.
  • Instead of going straight to the landfill, compost the rest of your organic waste.

Which of these have you already begun to do to help lower your carbon footprint? Even though they seem small and simple, your efforts can actually make a difference! The most important thing is that we do it on a regular basis, beginning with ourselves. After that, you can invite people around you to join you in reducing your carbon footprint.

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