History of Carbon. What is it and where is it from?
To understand the carbon footprint we must first take a look back in time. The history of carbon is as old the Jurassic period. When you consider those children’s illustrated encyclopedias revealing various geological strata and the fossils preserved by earth matter is where you will find the royal share of carbon in its solid form. Oil wells that have processed these once existing life, now forms these reserves of fuel that have powered global industries and our economies.
As a gas, it is emitted during combustion, typically from fossil fuels although any living organism contains elements of carbon. As such, the seed of our own destruction lives in everything that is a living thing.
What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is best described as a utility meter reading. Consider one’s utility bills, referencing the meter reading should give an accurate measure of how much electricity for example one has used and as such, reflects the price of the of bill due.
Every person has a carbon footprint. From simply breathing we emit some amount of carbon, along with carbon dioxide, unspent oxygen and traces of nitrogen.
Considering the evolution of modern life and the industrial processes employed for all facets of living (transport, communication, food production, entertainment, employment, manufacture) individuals, despite seemingly facing no choice, all have a greater carbon footprint owing the advanced systems in place that exist around them.
How to calculate our own?
Environmentally speaking, it is a measure whereby to reduce our own personal effects of carbon emissions by calculating, through certain consumer options available to us, the amount of carbon each service or item we purchase. In doing so, it is a way of taking responsibility for our own actions with the objective to preserving life on earth.
To calculate an individual Carbon Footprint, a particular through a survey is required which follows the person’s daily, weekly and monthly choices and calculates a mean average that will generate an annual figure. Carbon audit websites are available along with climate engineers to assist inaccurate readings.
How do have one?
With almost every endeavor, modern life is determined by the development of fuel from crude oil. From buying your morning coffee to settling with the TV, it dominates our lives and thereby our decisions involve a certain amount of Carbon emission or footprint as a result. The way to realize the magnitude of our dependence on oil (a carbon-rich fossil fuel) consider that coffee is transported from afar and required vast amounts of fuel to have it transported here. Television, itself, a ubiquitous often in most homes, is made from plastics derived from crude oil by products and is industrially processes on a mass scale.
How to reduce it?
There has been growing awareness surrounding the changing of the climate, evidenced in the increase of sea levels, melting ice caps and increased force of thermal dynamics. Along with the geo political significance of oil and its scarcity, the focus through media, business, science and academic institutions have made steps to find better alternatives to modern living.
Despite the magnitude of the situation and the advanced state of the changing climate, reducing travel and buying produce locally will result in a lowering of one’s footprint.
Switching to renewable energy companies will further improve one’s footprint. But meaningful change will come as a result of world-wide efforts.