What does carbon footprint mean and how to reduce it

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The carbon footprint is an environmental measure that calculates the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that we emit into the atmosphere and is expressed in tons of CO2 emitted.

Said like this, you can stay a little as you were, but think, for example, of your day-to-day routine: you wake up, turn off the alarm clock, a while on your mobile phone, coffee, television, etc. You may not have thought about it until now, but all those routine steps in your day to day life are already contributing a little to GHG emissions; that is, those that increase the temperature of the earth. How about?

In our homes in Spain, an average of 12.5 tons of CO2 is emitted per year and most of them are related to the consumption of energy, electricity, gas, gasoline / diesel.

In fact, we could consider 4 big blocks in our emissions:

  • Home: emissions associated with electricity, heating, purchase of furniture and mortgage financial services.
  • Transport: emissions derived from the use of cars, motorcycles, airplanes and urban and interurban public transport.
  • Food: emissions associated with food consumed at home and also consumption in bars and restaurants.
  • Day-to-day expenses: emissions associated with the purchase of products and services such as telephones, computers, clothing, footwear, leisure and accommodation on pleasure trips.

We told you that in our homes the average is 12.5 tons of CO2 per year, but we are going to individualize it even more: the emissions of a person in Spain, between 15 and 65 years old, move on a scale of between 5, 5 and 3.5 tons of CO2 per year.

Around 42% of those tons correspond to transportation, 34% to food, 14% to lifestyle and 10% to home. Do you realize that, if we add up, 76% of the carbon footprint in Spain corresponds to transport and food? If you were thinking of including saving measures at home, you will see that they are not the most effective measures precisely to achieve an improvement in the carbon footprint that we are leaving and we should preferably focus on food and transport.

As a general rule, as people have more economic resources, their carbon footprint increases: larger homes (more consumption to acclimatize them), greater use of private vehicles, further and longer vacations, greater number of visits to bars and restaurants…

And the million dollar question: how to reduce the carbon footprint?

  • Transportation.
    • Preferably choose public transport instead of a private vehicle.
    • If you can choose, when buying a vehicle, that it be low emissions.
    • Avoid rush hours when driving.
    • Regularly check the tire pressure. A low pressure tire produces more resistance and, consequently, higher fuel consumption.
    • Carpool when possible.
    • Check the air conditioner regularly and keep the filters clean.
  • Feeding.
    • Consume more local products that are seasonal.
    • Avoid consuming products packaged in plastic.
    • Limit food waste.
    • Bet on fresh products.
    • Welcome and prioritize vegetables in your day to day life. The more in your diet, the better.
    • Reduce the consumption of home orders.
    • Limit meat consumption, especially beef.
    • Use of reusable shopping bags.
    • Shopping list with only what is really necessary to avoid buying more than necessary.
  • Home.
    • Reduce heating one degree.
    • Shorten the time you spend in the shower.
    • Turn off the faucet when you’re not using it. Avoid letting the water run.
    • Avoid leaving the mobile phone charging when the battery is already at 100%.
    • Limit and recycle your waste.
    • Bet on efficient products marked with the “A” label.

As you can see, putting our grain of sand to reduce the carbon footprint is in our hands and it is easier than we think. A grain of sand builds a heap that can help our planet breathe easier.

And you: what do you do to reduce the carbon footprint in your day to day life?

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