Ohana Project: BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU DO – CARBON FOOTPRINT
WATCH ME FIRST
Have you ever wondered what if today I walked instead of using a car, a bus, or a tricycle to go to point A to point B? What if today I didn’t use chemicals that would potentially harm the earth? This will be one of the serious I will covering about “awareness” and eco-friendly things we can do to start making a difference. Does it really matter? Of course it does. Everything we do matters. Your part of an ecosystem that’s constantly changing and evolving. Question is are you adding to a problem or are you helping with a solution? What’s the point on working so hard to obtain luxury, comfort if you or your children cannot enjoy them? What’s the point of being healthy internally when your environment is polluted and filled with cancer causing agents? Not to be a Debby downer but what you do affects everything. Does anything you do now, today really make a difference? Well, it does…..
What is a carbon footprint – definition
A carbon footprint is defined as:
The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
In other words: When you drive a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance. (CO2 is the chemical symbol for carbon dioxide). When you heat your house with oil, gas or coal, then you also generate CO2. Even if you heat your house with electricity, the generation of the electrical power may also have emitted a certain amount of CO2. When you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods also emitted some quantities of CO2.
Your carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), which were induced by your activities in a given time frame. Usually a carbon footprint is calculated for the time period of a year.
The best way is to calculate the carbon dioxide emissions based on the fuel consumption. In the next step you can add the CO2 emission to your carbon footprint. Below is a table for the most common used fuels:
- For each (UK-) gallon of petrol fuel consumed, 10.4 kg carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted.
- For each (US-) gallon of gasoline fuel consumed, 8.7 kg carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted.
- If your car consumes 7.5 liter diesel per 100 km, then a drive of 300 km distance consumes 3 x 7.5 = 22.5 liter diesel, which adds 22.5 x 2.7 kg = 60.75 kg CO2 to your personal carbon footprint.
||CO2 emitted per unit
|Petrol||1 gallon (UK)||10.4 kg|
||1 liter||2.3 kg|
|Gasoline||1 gallon (USA)||8.7 kg|
|Gasoline||1 liter||2.3 kg|
|Diesel||1 gallon (UK)||12.2 kg|
|Diesel||1 gallon (USA)||9.95 kg|
||1 liter||2.7 kg|
||1 gallon (UK)||13.6 kg|
|Oil (heating)||1 gallon (USA)||11.26 kg|
||1 liter||3 kg|
Each of the following activities add 1 kg of CO2 to your personal carbon footprint:
- Travel by public transportation (train or bus) a distance of 10 to 12 km (6.5 to 7 miles)
- Drive with your car a distance of 6 km or 3.75 miles (assuming 7.3 litres petrol per 100 km or 39 mpg)
- Fly with a plane a distance of 2.2 km or 1.375 miles.
- Operate your computer for 32 hours (60 Watt consumption assumed)
- Production of 5 plastic bags
- Production of 2 plastic bottles
- Production of 1/3 of an American cheeseburger (yes, the production of each cheeseburger emits 3.1 kg of CO2!)
To calculate the above contributions to the carbon footprint, the current UK mix for electricity and trains was taken into account.
Carbon dioxide is a so called greenhouse gas causing global warming . Other greenhouse gases which might be emitted as a result of your activities are e.g. methane and ozone. These greenhouse gases are normally also taken into account for the carbon footprint. They are converted into the amount of CO2 that would cause the same effects on global warming (this is called equivalent CO2 amount).
Few people express their carbon footprint in kg carbon rather than kg carbon dioxide. You can always convert kg carbon dioxide in kg carbon by multiplying with a factor 0.27 (1’000 kg CO2 equals 270 kg carbon). See my comment to the article about personal responsibility for 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.
For registered users, there is a carbon footprint calculator on this website, which allows to store individual activities like, e.g. travelling by car, train, bus or air plane, fuel consumptions, electricity bills and so on (we call the individual contributions “carbon stamps”). You can then see the amount of CO2 created for each individual activity. You can do this either in advance and use it as a help for decisions or afterwards to continually sum up your carbon dioxide emissions. Klick here to see a sample carbon footprint with some activities.
An off-line carbon footprint and primary energy consumption calculator (Excel sheet) is already available in the download section.
There are graphs available on this site for the CO2 emissions per capita by country (average carbon footprint by country). In the medium- and long term, the carbon footprint must be reduced to less than 2’000 kg CO2 per year and per person. This is the maximum allowance for a sustainable living .
The main cause of global warming
Another issue is the non-renewable characteristic of fossil fuels: It took nature millions of years to generate these resources, however we will have used them up within the next decades. Alone the shrinking supply will not make it possible to continue as usual for a longer time.
The main cause of global warming is our treatment of Nature
- Why have warnings about climate change been ignored for more than 20 years?
- Why were ever more scientific evidence demanded to find the coherence of man-made CO2 emissions as cause of global warming? Why wasn’t common sense reason enough to act?
The true cause of global warming is our thoughtless attitude to Nature.
Why can one still today find people who stick their head in the sand and don’t want to understand what’s going on in the earth’s atmosphere?
- Why do most people refuse to change their personal behavior voluntary in order to reduce CO2 emissions caused by their activities?
The answer to all these questions is a rather simple one:
In our technology and scientific minded world, we seem to have forgotten that mankind is only a relatively minor part of Nature. We ignore being part of a larger whole.
We believe to be able to control Nature instead of trying to arrange ourselves with Nature. This haughtiness is the true main cause of global warming. As a matter of fact, some people still believe that technical solutions alone would be sufficient to fight global warming.
Although we are guests on Earth, we behave as if no further visitors would arrive after us. It’s like having a wild party where we destroy beds, the kitchen as well as the living room of a hotel without ever thinking about our future staying in the hotel nor about other guests arriving later.
The lesson from global warming is to base all decisions on deep respect and consideration for Nature.
In addition, our unit of measure is more and more often money only. What has no price tag, seems to have no value to us any more. In doing so we mix up economic growth with general well-being and financial income with personal happiness, respectively.There is a loss of value behind this attitudes. We got blind for the true reason of our incarnation on earth:
We live here to train those traits , which will finally lead to perpetual harmony with ourselves and with our environment as well as to inner calm and peace.
The ultimate global warming solutions is to behave as part of a larger whole
Many people between 20 and 65 years seem to live for the one and only purpose of earning as much money as possible in order to be able to buy as many things as possible. In this light, it is not surprising that discussions about potential solutions to fight global warming concentrate on technical measures instead of a fundamental change of our attitude to life in general and to Nature in particular.
Someone who respects Nature and regards mankind as a part of a larger whole would never dream about using up non-renewable resources in a short time nor would this person contaminate the environment with gigantic amounts of pollution. By contrary, someone who respects Nature and regards mankind as a part of a larger whole would in all decisions carefully evaluate any effects on Nature. The preservation of Nature would be given a very high priority. On this base, it wouldn’t have been possible to deny and ignore global warming for more than 20 years!
It’s your personal decision whether you want to be the cause of global warming
In this context the question is whether global warming and its effects will eventually wake up mankind and spark off a change of paradigm. Will we understand this hint of Nature to follow the true meaning of life or will we continue to let us manipulate by media and advertisement as sheer and willing consumers in the economic cycle? Will we continue to strive for power, prestige and possessions following the concept „the more the better “? Shall economic growth and an ever increasing personal income continue to be the reason for being here, beyond everything else?
These questions can and must be answered by everyone. It is not primarily a decision of politicians or of the government. Everyone has to make a personal decision.
It is in our very own interest to induce fundamental changes in our attitude and behavior towards Nature: Modesty and humility, admiration and respect for all life on Earth instead of arrogance and haughtiness.
Let’s emphasize it again: Not the others need to change, we must change ourselves. There are no international treaties or additional national laws required to start changing. We can start to change our consciousness immediately. It is really only about our personal behaviour – independent of what others do or don’t do. I am not forcing my ideas nor am I saying I am completely against technology. But just be mindful of the amount of carbon footprint you leave behind. What we do today will affect our children’s tomorrow. It may not affect them next year or 10 years but if you notice the shift in seasons, the drastic changes in temperature, even the massive amounts of bigger/super storms coming out. Think about in 20-30-50years what these things will mean? It affects EVERYTHING not only temperature or climate but it will potentially affect our land, water, food (crops), and way of living. We need power, we need electricity, we need fuel but all these resources that gives us comfort of living comes with a bad trade of. Again, if you can walk for a couple of blocks and waste 10minutes would you do it if you knew this walk would help keep global warming controlled? or slow it down? Lessen up your carbon footprint before we run out of road to walk on. So again, what you do matters. I much rather be part of the solution then add on to the problem. Recycle – clean up – plant more trees!
It’s time for change!
BEAUTIFY AND PRESERVE WHAT YOU HAVE BECAUSE ONCE IT’S GONE THERE WILL BE NO RESET BUTTON.