Reduce your carbon footprint

Apr 22, 2015, 12:56 IST


earth day

Earth Day is an annual event observed on April 22 to create awareness and support environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970 in the Unites States and has now reached 192 countries. 

In 1969, Peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace. He suggested March 21, 1970 as the first day. However, United States Senator Gaylord Nelson declared April 22, 1970 as environmental teach-in. Interestingly, it was Denis Hayes who was responsible in taking the day international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Various communities across the world celebrate Earth Week where the entire week is dedicated to activities focused on environmental issues. However, the efforts of some people over a period of a week will not change anything.

Earth Day is a reminder that we all need to do our little bit in conserving our environment. Difficult? Maybe, for it will force you out of your comfort zone at some levels. Impossible? It is surely not! Let’s start with looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint. You don’t have to wait for another Earth Day to start with these small changes.
Drive less: Don’t take your car or bike out for short distances. Opt for walking or take out your cycle. This will not only help avoid carbon emissions completely, will also help you stay fit. IF walking or cycling is not an option, go for public transport or find company for carpooling. 

Slow and steady: Your road isn’t a F1 race track and with the traffic congestion at all times of day, speeding unnecessarily and acceleration will lead to wasting more fuel and money, and increase your carbon footprint.

Choose wisely: When buying appliances, make sure that you really need them in your home. For instance, do you need an air conditioner in all rooms in your house? Do you really bake that often or prefer ordering in your favourite pizza – that will decide if you need a microwave. Will a manual whisker solve the purpose of the electric blender you are planning to buy? Also, once you have decided to buy an appliance, choose the ones which are energy efficient. There are ENERGY STAR labels to help you with that. 
Turn off the lights: Open your window and let some fresh air and natural light seep into your room. We often don’t realise that the day light filtering into our homes is enough during the day and we don’t need to turn on the lights. 

Carbon footprint and food: If till now you were not convinced about the goodness of locally-grown organic food, now you have one more reason to make that switch. Transport of food increases spends on petroleum-based fuels and the inorganic foods are also treated with fertilizers that are fossil fuel-based. Cut on that food and you will be reducing your carbon footprint and eating healthy too at the same time. 

Plant a tree: Let’s make that your next weekend activity. This is the easiest, convenient and the most efficient way to reduce your carbon footprint. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen and therefore, the more trees the better it is for the health of our environment.  

Laptop over desktop: Not because these are more cool and convenient to use, but also because laptops are more energy efficient than desktops – around 80% 

Unplug your gadgets: We all are guilty of just unplugging our phones from the charges while leaving the charger still on. We also miss putting out computer screens on sleep mode during our lunch and coffee breaks. These habits need to change now as these can go a long way in saving energy.