We are constantly reminded about pollution and its effect on global warming.  We hear warnings from scientists that society needs to change its habits or the damage to our climate will be irreversible.

The scientists keep talking about this thing called a carbon footprint.  In a nutshell, carbon footprint refers to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with using a product or incurred during the production of a product.

Examples of carbon footprints:

  • Transportation – use of any mode of transportation that emits gases into the atmosphere.
  • Production of consumer goods – which consumes energy in the manufacture and delivery processes(electricity, transportation).
  • Farming of livestock – which produces methane, one of the greenhouse gases.

For a detailed description of greenhouse gases, visit the EPA webwsite  http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/

Have you ever considered how much carbon you’re responsible for generating each year?  The other day I was curious about how I contribute to the problem and if there was anything I could do to reduce or offset my own output. So I used these helpful sites.

Carbon Calculators
US EPA http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html
California http://www.wecandothis.com/#/carbon-calculator
Australia http://www.carbonify.com/carbon-calculator.htm
 Virginia http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/

There are also some carbon calculators for the iPhone.  Just search for “carbon” in the App Store.

Some of these calculators provide suggestions for things you can do to offset your carbon footprint by reducing your carbon emissions.

Examples of carbon footprint offset:

  • Drive less – plan your trips
  • Car pool
  • Use public transportation
  • Drive a lower-emission/higher-MPG car
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs.  They may initially cost a little more, but over the long run they reduce your energy use, thus saving money.
  • Purchase only Energy Star compliant products

For more ideas visit http://www.energystar.gov

I think the major thing we can do to offset our personal carbon footprint is to reduce or eliminate our use of fossil fuels.  In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emisisons, we need to plant more trees to help offset carbon dioxide production.  Personally, I try to plant new trees each year. 

There are more ways to be involved.  Many organizations have been created for the sole purpose of preserving forests and planting more trees.  To find these organizations do a search on the internet for Carbon Offset.  You might find that your local power company or conservation group has a program that you can join.

Go Green.  Get involved.  Make a difference.