The carbon footprint concept is related to and grew out of the older idea of ecological footprint, a concept invented in the early 1990s by Canadian ecologist William Rees and Swiss-born regional planner Mathis Wackernagel at the University of British Columbia. An ecological footprint is the total area of land required to sustain an activity or population. It includes environmental impacts, such as water used and the amount of land used for food production. In contrast, a carbon footprint is usually expressed as a measure of weight, as in tons of CO2 or CO2 equivalent per year.
In developed countries, transportation and household energy use make up the largest component of an individual’s carbon footprint. For example, approximately 40 percent of total emissions in the United States during the first decade of the 21st century were from those sources. Such emissions are included as part of an individual’s “primary” carbon footprint, representing the emissions over which an individual has direct control.
The remainder of an individual’s carbon footprint is called the “secondary” carbon footprint, representing carbon emissions associated with the consumption of goods and services. The secondary footprint includes carbon emissions emitted by food production. It can be used to account for diets that contain higher proportions of meat, which requires a greater amount of energy and nutrients to produce than vegetables and grains, and foods that have been transported long distances. The manufacturing and transportation of consumer goods are additional contributors to the secondary carbon footprint.
Few ways to reduce Carbon Footprint are:
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
- Switch to renewable energy
- Consider your heating use
- Eat seasonal and fresh produce
We at Shape Of Life have followed United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and have reduced our own carbon footprint. You can also calculate your own carbon footprint using the below table.