Being one of 7 billion people on the planet can make me feel quite insignificant. I often wonder how can my actions can possibly affect the world. I didn’t realise the impact a little, trivial action could make on the planet until I learnt about Carbon Footprints.
I learnt about Carbon Footprint in primary school. I’ve seen it being used by eco-bloggers and other activists, but I didn’t really apply the concept of it until just a few months ago.
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases that is produced or required by the activity of an individual. The most emitted greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (Co2) which is a huge contributor to Global Warming. Everything a person does, from eating breakfast to going to the gym, has a carbon footprint.
My morning skincare routine is a good example of a basic everyday activity that has a carbon footprint. I use water to wash and rinse my face. I use beauty products which are cruelty-free but were made in a factory, which released chemical gases into the atmosphere. The packaging of all of these products is plastic, which as you already know, is unsustainable and was probably manufactured in another factory that caused even more air pollution. This entire 5 – minute routine contributes to my personal carbon footprint. Shocking, right?
There is, however, an alternative to my morning routine with a smaller carbon footprint. I could use more natural products, maybe even homemade ones, packaged in reusable packaging like glass. There are other common activities with bigger carbon footprints that need to be changed in order to reduce Co2 levels. One of them is grocery shopping. Everyone goes grocery shopping at least once a week.
Before actually buying the groceries, you need to first get to the store. Driving to the store adds to the carbon footprint because of the gases released by your car. Then comes shopping at a commercial supermarket, which runs on electricity. The electricity source differs from country to country, but here in South Africa the number one energy source is coal which is a giant contributor to Global Warming. The next step is actually buying groceries. The more unsustainable the packaging is (like plastic) the more you add to your carbon footprint. If you buy tons of meat, then your carbon footprint doubles as the entire process to produce that meat has a huge carbon footprint.
It’s overwhelming, I know. At first, I was afraid of living in a constant state of worry, but I found out that there are ways in which I can monitor my carbon footprint and decrease it.
There are apps that actually monitor your carbon footprint for you. I haven’t tried one yet but I am eager to.
You can also monitor your carbon footprint yourself. You don’t have to do any calculations – just be conscious of your activities. This is what I have been doing for a while without realising that I am actually decreasing my carbon footprint- from cutting out single-use plastics to using cruelty-free products!
Here are 10 simple ways to decrease your carbon footprint:
- Carpool,use public transport or walk.
- Substitute single-use plastics for renewable and reusable options.
- Eat less meat. Eat more plant based meals.
- Cut down your shower time.
- Buy naked packaging (zero packaging) or glass packaging.
- Use natural, cruelty-free products.
- Plant more trees.
- Binge less. Cut down on screen time.
- Air-dry instead of blow-drying your hair.
– Kayla Shivana