Reducing carbon footprints for a sustainable future - Hindustan Times

Reducing carbon footprints for a sustainable future

ByTanya Singhal
Apr 03, 2024 11:50 AM IST

This article is authored by Tanya Singhal, founder, Mynzo Carbon and Solar Arise, New Delhi.

The climate crisis is an intricate challenge, intricately woven between natural phenomena and human activities. Our planet maintains just the right conditions for life to flourish due to its delicate balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – neither too hot nor too cold. However, since the onset of the industrial era, human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes have disrupted this balance, leading to an alarming increase in greenhouse gas emissions, thus breaking the delicate balance and overheating the earth.

Carbon Footprint (representative image) (Getty Images/iStockphoto) PREMIUM
Carbon Footprint (representative image) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The urgency to combat the climate crisis has never been more pressing. Despite numerous pledges and commitments by governments and companies to reduce emissions, the reality is that emission levels continue to rise year after year. This highlights the gap between intentions and actions when it comes to addressing the climate crisis. It's time to shift the focus to individual actions and recognise the importance of taking meaningful steps to reduce our carbon footprint.

Understanding one's carbon footprint is crucial for effective climate action. It involves recognising the impact of our daily choices and behaviour on the environment, such as transportation habits, consumption patterns, and energy usage. Without this awareness, it's challenging for individuals to make informed decisions to reduce their emissions. Advancements in technology and data collection have made it increasingly feasible to measure and track individual carbon footprints. Mobile applications and online calculators provide tools for individuals to assess their carbon footprint and identify areas for improvement. These tools empower individuals to take ownership of their environmental impact and make informed decisions to reduce emissions.

Subtle actions in daily life add up to create a huge impact. For instance, opting for a petrol-fuelled car ride instead of carpooling or using public transport significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. A single 50 km petrol car ride can produce about eight-10 kg of CO2, equivalent to almost 50% of the CO2 absorbed by a single tree in a year. Extrapolating this to a larger scale, the cumulative emissions from frequent car rides pose a catastrophic threat to our planet's health. Similarly, choosing virtual meetings over air travel can drastically reduce emissions associated with transportation. A single flight from Delhi to Mumbai emits approximately 250-300 kg of CO2, equivalent to the CO2 absorbed by 10-12 trees in a year. Similarly, reducing energy consumption by using energy-efficient appliances, turning off lights when not in use, and lowering the thermostat can help lower overall emissions. Supporting eco-friendly products and services, buying locally produced goods, and supporting companies with sustainable practices can all make a difference in reducing our carbon footprint. These examples underscore the significance of individual choices in shaping our climate future.

Furthermore, individuals can play a role in advocating for policy changes and demanding action from governments and corporations. By raising awareness about the climate crisis, supporting initiatives that promote renewable energy and conservation efforts, and participating in community-based projects, individuals can amplify their impact and drive positive change at a broader level.

The need for individual action is paramount in the fight against climate crisis. By understanding their carbon footprint, individuals can set personal targets to reduce their emissions and take meaningful subtle actions in their daily lives. Together we can all contribute to the global effort to combat the climate crisis. It's time to harness the power of individual action to create a more sustainable future for us and future generations.

This article is authored by Tanya Singhal, founder, Mynzo Carbon and Solar Arise, New Delhi.

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