What Is a Carbon Footprint?


Authored by Jeremy Siek in Environment 
Published on 11-30-2008

As much as we talk about going Green, we also refer to the Carbon Footprint. So what is a carbon footprint, and what can we do about it?

The amount of carbon dioxide released into our environment as a by product of our activities, in our daily lives, is defined as the carbon footprint. It is commonly used to refer to the amount of CO2 released because of our use of fossil fuels in order to power our needs and wants.

The idea is to reduce or alter activities that create a large carbon footprint and to engage in activities that offset or cancel out the carbon footprint we leave behind.

Believe it or not, your family most likely produces somewhere around 7.5 tons of CO2. That is if your family is average. If your family is in the habit of leaving lights on, letting the water run or if your house has bad insulation, you could be producing much more CO2, thereby creating a larger carbon footprint.

What can you do to reduce your carbon footprint? Go Green. Practice the Green techniques that you come across and purchase your goods with Green thoughts in mind. Most Green activities and businesses reduce our carbon footprint by nature. ‘Going Green’ and ‘Reducing Carbon Footprints’ goes hand in hand.

Not only can you reduce your carbon footprint, but you can actually reverse it. This is called Carbon Offsetting. There are three basic carbon offsetting techniques:

Tree planting – This helps restore natural habitats, as well as pumping oxygen back into the atmosphere. There are many options for carbon offsetting, from purchasing carbon credits from companies who will plant a tree in your name. The result of massive numbers of individuals and companies investing in tree planting carbon offsetting are sizable forests being restored worldwide.

Renewable energy – Reducing or eliminating the need for fossil fuels to power our lives is a major part of carbon offsetting. Fossil fuels are oil, coal and natural gas. Our planet is running out of these fuels and they are also bad for the environment and atmosphere when they are burned to create power. Solar, wind and tidal energies are sources of power that are infinite, but are also safe for the local as well as global environment.

Energy conservation – In contemporary time energy conservation is needed to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. In the future, energy conservation will be an issue because we will be creating our own energy, and we won’t want to waste what we are creating. Get into the habit of practicing energy conservation now, and you will be able to get much more from your home’s solar panels, when they are installed in the future.


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