We are being advised to reduce our Carbon Footprint. Discuss the significance of this for the individual and for Industry.
By: Frances Lagan
We often hear a lot in the media and in schools about how we must reduce our carbon footprint to help fight global warming. Do we really understand what our carbon footprint is ant what effects it is having on the world? A Carbon Footprint is a measure of the total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced directly, also know as primary footprint, and indirectly, secondary footprint, by an individual, event or an ...view middle of the document...
If emissions remain unchecked it is predicted by scientists that the average global temperatures could rise by another 4degrees by 2100 (4).
An individuals, nations, or organisations carbon footprint can be measured by undertaking a GHG emissions assessment. Once the size of the carbon footprint is established, a plan can be put in place to reduce it. On average each person in the UK is responsible for approximately 14tonnes of GHGâ€™s emissions (5). There are many ways in which individuals and organisations can go about to help reduce their carbon footprint. Starting at home with simple things you can encourage children and all household members to join in. Changing light bulbs to energy saving bulbs and remembering to turn lights of when not in use, these tend to work out cheaper in the long run also. Turn of water when brushing teeth, and fix dripping taps can also be beneficial, turn all plugs of at the mains a night. By making homes more energy efficient you can not only reduce your carbon footprint for the whole family but also you could potentially increase the value of your house. Installing double-glazing makes heating your home easier and stays warm for longer (6). By insulating lofts and cavity walls this is a good way to conserve energy, keeping houses warmer in the winter time and cool in the summer. When going shopping try not to buy on impulse, only buy thing we really need. Bring your own bags with you, a lot of supermarkets reward you for doing this. When out shopping for food try to buy organic or fair trade, these are usually grown and in an eco friendly way and locally which means less travel for it to get on the shop shelves(7).
There are many things that can be done in the workplace in order to help reduce our carbon footprint. Starting by the way you travel to work, try to use public transport or even walk to work, this will also help your fitness and health. When at work try printing less, paper makes up around 35% of our waste stream â€“ even though it is one of the easiest materials to reuse or recycle. Do not print out all emails and documents, try organising your inbox into folders or create back-up copies of important files and keep them on an external drive, rather than storing in boxes of paper files. Try using air-conditioning less in the workplace wear layers so you can take of a jumper or put on a coat rather than using the air-conditioning (8). There seems to be a lot of commuting for meetings and conferences with clients and colleagues, this seems to be a great cost and a lot of time wasting, try teleconferencing this will reduce costs for travel such as flights and conference rooms and accommodation while also reducing your carbon footprint. Place paper-recycling bins in convenient locations around the office. Keep clearly labelled bins in areas such as staff room or canteen. And the end of a working day, always ensure that all computers, printers, lights and air-conditioning are turned off.