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What is Carbon Footprint and How to Measure It

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid -

Paying attention to your carbon footprint is a good way to reduce the impact that you have on the environment, and prevent global warming. As you probably know, global warming is a hot topic that needs to be considered, and many people are talking about the impact of the carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses that we are producing.

What is a Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that a person (or business/organization) emits into the atmosphere. There are many ways that these greenhouse gasses are emitted, such as consumption of fuel, manufacturing products, transportation, and clearing land. Almost every decision we make on a daily basis has some sort of impact on the greenhouse gas emissions, even if we don’t consciously realize that impact.

As an example, consider the fact that when you buy a pre-packaged food product at the grocery store there are many greenhouse gasses that were emitted to get that product to the store. Energy was used to create the product, package it, and ship it to the store. Also, greenhouse gasses are emitted to provide energy for the store so that the store can be maintained for the customers to come buy products.

Additionally, your carbon footprint increases as you drive to the grocery store to purchase the product, and when the packaging is thrown away the carbon footprint grows larger because the waste must be picked up by the garbage truck to be disposed of at the landfill.

How To Measure Carbon Footprints

It can be difficult to measure the exact impact that your decisions have on the environment. There are carbon footprint calculators that can be found online, and you can measure the impact of your living by entering in your information. These calculators can tell you how much of an impact your driving habits, electricity usages, and grocery shopping habits have on the environment.

You may not be able to calculate exactly how much of an environmental impact you are having, however it is a good idea to always work to decrease your carbon footprint. Simple steps can always be taken in order to reduce your impact.

How To Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

Here are a few easy ideas to decrease your carbon footprint:

  • Instead of driving your car, consider walking or taking public transportation
  • Turn down your thermostat a few degrees to reduce the amount of energy that is being used
  • Don’t run major appliances everyday
  • Instead of buying pre-packaged groceries at chain grocery stores, visit farmers markets to purchase locally grown food
  • Recycle as much as possible, and purchase recycled products

These steps many seem small, but every little bit helps when it comes to saving the environment. You can make a difference through the choices that you are making on a daily basis, and by encouraging your family and friends to also make environmentally friendly choices as well.

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