We often hear about “Carbon Emissions” in the news and regularly read about businesses that are breaking their necks to try and reduce their Carbon Footprint, but do we give much thought to our own personal Carbon Footprint?
First of all what is a Carbon Footprint?
A Carbon footprint is an estimated calculation of the amount of greenhouse gasses (e.g. Carbon dioxide and methane) emitted by an individual or group of people. Emissions of greenhouse gasses can be caused by a myriad of activities including; Travelling, using your laptop and even drinking bottled water.
I’ve often thought about my own Carbon Footprint, reaching the conclusion that it would be rather low because I car share, I’m a pescetarian and only eat fish once a week, I switch everything off at the mains after use and I haven’t had a holiday that entailed a flight in over a year. Unbelievably my carbon footprint was calculated by WWF to be 7.91 tonnes per year, equating to around 2 Planet Earth’s. This is (I am pleased to say) below average for the standard British citizen, which is calculated at 10.92 Tonnes per year. The size of my footprint is still however quite surprising and much higher than I’d like it to be.
So what can we do to reduce our carbon footprint? Does it involve a lot of change and inconvenience in our lives? Well, yes and no.
One of the main contributors to a high carbon footprint is food, specifically meat and cheese. Lamb and Beef are the highest contributors to carbon emissions due to the fact that these meats come from ruminant animals that produce methane (a potent greenhouse gas). Chilled and Frozen foods are also high up on the carbon emissions chart because they need more storage energy than non perishable products.
Eating no meat and selling your fridge freezer is obviously not an option (for most). Eating less meat and or being more selective of the types of meat you regularly eat e.g. swapping chicken for beef is more realistic. Buying organic produce is also a recommended way of reducing your carbon footprint (albeit at a premium). Buying seasonably and locally produced goods or growing your own are other good ways of combating you carbon footprint.
One of the main ways we can all work towards significantly reducing our carbon footprint is by making ourselves aware of our shopping and eating habits, what we are buying and where it has come from. Just by becoming more aware of the whole process involved in the production of our food and applying that knowledge towards informing our choices, we can begin taking small constructive steps that don’t have to cause a great degree of inconvenience in your life. Why not take the carbon footprint test today and see how you score?