As climate responsibility continues to rise within many circles in society, environmental terminology becomes more imperative in the dictionaries inside our heads. It is useful to understand what is being talked about and in this post, we are discussing the subject of carbon footprint.
Environmental actions and changes are relatively easy to achieve in one’s daily life. Altering simple routines like transportation or recycling habits are some of the best ways to contribute to the bigger cause of making an everlasting difference. The absolute fact is that the environment needs our help and it is our duty to do as much as we can even if it means that certain routines in our weekly cycle must change permanently.
Permanent changes are something that becomes extremely relevant when addressing the important matter that is carbon footprint. Should you be entirely new to this subject, then the question inevitably arises: what is a carbon footprint?
The simple answer would be something along these lines: a carbon footprint is a way to trace one’s actions regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The “footprint” is simply a metaphor to state the obvious that certain actions impact the environment thus leaving behind a footprint of sorts. It’s also common to come across the phrase “carbon handprint” which relates to the positive impact on the environment, may it be the use of a product or manufacturing one.
If you are driving to work instead of cycling or using public transportation, you are leaving behind a carbon footprint. The best and most notable thing to remember is that you can determine the size of the aforementioned footprint hence making a positive impact on the environment.
Climate change, unfortunately, brings a lot of negatives to the table, but there is one subject among the key concerns that stands tall above them all. You can’t spell carbon footprint without carbon dioxide (CO2).
This heat-trapping greenhouse gas is an unfortunate side product of many human actions on this planet. Alongside carbon dioxide, there are also other harmful and notorious greenhouse gasses, such as methane and nitrous oxide for example. However, in the majority of environmentally negative cases, carbon dioxide or CO2 is the main culprit.
Now, since we are talking about a plethora of different greenhouse gasses, we can’t simply just measure CO2. A person’s actions can also be linked to other greenhouse gas emissions as well. As a solution to get a more accurate figure of one’s carbon footprint, a precise way to display a carbon footprint in numbers is by measuring the carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2-eq.
A person’s CO2-eq average figure, or carbon footprint, shows how he or she affects the climate. The bigger the CO2-eq figure, the more reason to start thinking about those daily routines.
It is a question that does get asked around but not clearly enough to make a difference just yet. Climate education and information has luckily become more accessible and common as more people are becoming aware of their own impact.
And what possibly could that impact look like exactly? According to The Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA, the average Finn produces approximately ten tons of CO2-eq and the same applies to the average Swede as well. The ten-ton figure consists of consumption from all parts of our daily lives, such as living and energy use, transportation, and use of services and products.
With high hopes of lowering the Finnish person’s carbon footprint, SITRA has pointed out that instead of over ten tons, the carbon footprint number of a Finn should be close to 2,5 tons of CO2-eq in a year.
So, in case you are interested in finding out what kind of an impact you are making, we suggest taking SITRA’s test and becoming more informed about your own carbon footprint right now.