Make a Personal Effort to Cut Global Warming
The carbon footprint is a very powerful tool to understand the impact of personal behaviour on global warming. Most people are shocked when they see the amount of CO2 their activities create! If you personally want to contribute to stop global warming, the calculation and constant monitoring of your personal carbon footprint is essential. Carbon footprint calculators are available on the internet; and it is advisable to use it as a help for decisions or afterwards to keep summing up your carbon dioxide emissions.
Carbon footprint is “The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).” To express carbon footprint in kg carbon rather than kg carbon dioxide multiply by 0.27. Carbon dioxide is also called greenhouse gas causing global warming.
A 100-Watt bulb if kept on for 10 hours will consume: 100 x 10 = 1000 Watt-Hour = 1 Kilowatt-Hour (kWH) = 1 unit (on your meter). 1 unit of power causes 1 kg of CO2 emission of coal by our power stations. A consumption of 200 units of power in a month, contributes 200kgs of CO2 to the atmosphere.
2.3 kg and 2.7 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted per litre of petrol and diesel respectively. If a car consumes 7.5 litre diesel per 100 km, then a drive of 300 km distance consumes 3 x 7.5 = 22.5 litre diesel, which adds 22.5 x 2.7 kg = 60.75 kg CO2 to the personal carbon footprint.
A cow releases between 70 and 120 kg of methane a year. The negative effect on the climate by methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. In addition, clearing of tropical forests and rain forests to get more grazing land and farm land is responsible for an extra 2.8 billion tons of CO2 emission a year worldwide! Indian population of cows and buffalos was 0.3 billion in 2012 which was equivalent to an emission of 690 million tons of CO2. Albert Einstein said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”. According to the FAO, agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases world-wide. This is more than the whole transportation sector.
The carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), which were induced by human activities in a given time frame. Usually a carbon footprint is calculated for a year.
(The writer is an architect, urban designer, dancer and chief designer at Shilpa Architects)
each of the following activities add 1 kg of CO2 to your personal carbon footprint
- Travel by public transportation (train or bus for 10 to 12 km)
- Drive your car a distance of 6 km (assuming 7.3 litres petrol per 100 km)
- Fly by a plane a distance of 2.2 km
- Run your computer for 32 hours (60 Watt consumption assumed)
- Using 5 plastic bags
- Using 2 plastic bottles
- Eating 1/3 of a cheeseburger (yes, the production of each cheeseburger emits 3.1 kg of CO2!)