A Carbon footprint is a rough measure of green house gas emissions in the atmosphere by human activity. It is measured in terms of units of carbon dioxide (CO2). On an average, each individual has a carbon footprint of approximately 8 tons annually. Carbon dioxide is produced from every human activity right from cooking, leaving lights on, driving a car and refrigeration, to throwing a wrapper on the streets. Almost every one of our activities results in carbon emissions. All these seemingly inconsequential acts add up rapidly, thus contributing to global warming, which is one of the greatest threats faced by the planet today. Principally, a carbon footprint is the amount of fuel consumed by an individual in a span of one year. The concept of the carbon footprint is essential to understand the impression that personal comportment has on the atmosphere and on global warming.
The first step to reducing ones carbon footprint is to understand how it occurs, and then recording it. Several carbon footprint calculators are available through the Internet today. These calculators enable us to keep a tap on our fuel usage and other activities and see the amount of CO2 generated through each activity. Only such awareness can help to reduce the carbon footprint at an individual level, as people will know which part of their lifestyle needs to be changed. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a popular system used to determine a carbon footprint. Even simple changes in an individuals personal habits can make a world of difference.
Electricity contributes maximum to carbon emissions. So one must make sure he/she turns off electronic appliances when not in use. Things like turning the heater or air-conditioned down by just 2 degrees makes a difference. If possible, one must also use electricity from renewable sources. Some areas have their own green suppliers who provide for renewable sources of energy. Sharing cars to work, walking to places of close proximity, driving less, using public transport are also major contributors. One must also recycle whenever and as much as possible, and use organic and home made products.
If each person in the world, from a population of nearly 6.7 billion, takes these simple steps, the threat of global warming will truly be brought under control.