We are constantly told that in order to save our planet we all need to do our bit in reducing our carbon footprint. But what does this actually mean?
What is carbon?
Like oxygen, carbon dioxide is a natural gas. We breathe it out and plants breath it in. However when we burn fuels like coal and petrol, too much carbon is produced. This traps heat and raises the temperature on Earth. This heat creates massive changes in our climates, and negative impacts on our weather, plants and oceans. This is what scientists have termed “climate change”.
According to the United Nations, climate change brings with it intense droughts, water shortages, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, and catastrophic storms. We just need to follow the news on TV about life-threatening droughts and floods in our own country, to realise that we need to do something to save the planet.
Reducing our carbon footprint means a healthier planet, healthier communities and a healthier you!
What is a carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide realised into the air because of something done by people, rather than nature. Each one of us needs to take responsibility for our own carbon footprint and take active steps to reduce it.
How can we reduce our carbon footprint?
Your everyday choice can increase or decrease your carbon footprint. Here are some ways to make a difference:
Make thoughtful food choices:
- Moving towards a plant-based diet is better for the climate and better for your health. Animal agriculture creates high carbon emission so eating less meat is a good start and eating organic means less chemicals in the atmosphere.
- Eat local – the air miles that add up eating imported produce is certainly not good for the planet, so choose fresh, in season, local produce.
- Don’t throw away food. Turn dated food into compost or shop more carefully. This will have the double benefit of making your garden healthy and keeping your landfill waste to a minimum.
Refuse, reuse, recycle:
- When shopping take along reusable bags. Each plastic bag takes around 500 years to decompose in landfill.
- Do your bit by refusing plastic bags, excess packaging, and plastic straws.
- Don’t buy your daily cup of coffee in a disposable cup – carry your own with you. The same goes for your water bottle.
Green your household:
- Only do laundry when you have a full load and keep your machine dial on “cold”. Your laundry will come out as clean as always but a lot more “green”!
- Use the sun. There’s hardly ever a need for a tumble drier in South Africa. We have enough fresh air and sunshine to dry clothes on the
- Cut down. Take shorter shows and drop your geyser’s temperature setting. Why not put in a solar panel? It will save the planet and a fistful of cash.
- Use earth-friendly products around your home. They come in recycle plastics and use safe, naturally derived active cleaning ingredients.
Make a start – we are sure you are keen to go green!