- 06 Jun 2019
How often do you consider your carbon footprint? Find out how to calculate your footprint and how you can start offsetting your carbon emissions today
Most of the world is powered by energy that’s created from the burning of fossil fuels, which means every day we all produce carbon emissions in some way, shape or form. How much carbon we produce can be measured and is known as our carbon footprint.
Australia has one of the highest per capita emissions of carbon dioxide in the world. Being home to only 0.3% of the world’s population Australians produce 18.3 tonnes of greenhouse gases per person per year.
Even though we know we need to reduce our emissions, at the end of last year, Australia’s carbon emissions were the highest on record.
What are greenhouse gases?
Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide (the biggest contributor from the burning of coal, gas and oil), methane (released during the production of coal, gas and oil and from the large amounts of food and household waste decaying in landfills across the world), nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases (generated in smaller quantities but with higher potency).
Why are greenhouse gases a problem?
We know our very existence comes down to the Earth being in the ‘Goldilocks zone’ where the temperature is just right for liquid water, and that ecosystems survive on a very fine balance. Messing with this balance has consequences.
Large quantities of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere prevent the sun’s heat from reflecting back into space, instead, the gases act as a barrier that traps the heat (like a greenhouse). This greenhouse effect means the Earth’s temperature is rising which will have a chain effect on our oceans, weather patterns, plants, animals and ultimately us.
Why reducing our carbon emissions is important
Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas generated by human activity.
As we are the reason for such increased emissions, we should (and need to) take responsibility and make changes to our activities that bring about a reduction in carbon emissions.
Collectively, we can all make lifestyle changes to help reduce our carbon emission.
Why we’re supporting the Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund
The Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund (CNCF) is a small WA-based not-for-profit that’s bringing about a big change for the environment by helping individuals, families and businesses reduce their carbon footprint.
The CNCF achieve this by planting native trees on degraded land in Australia.
Trees are excellent at taking in and storing carbon (up to a tonne over the course of their life) and releasing oxygen, helping restore the balance of gases in the atmosphere and preventing that greenhouse effect.
Since 2001 the CNCF has planted over 5.4 million trees and project that safeguarding and restoring carbon over the coming decades may reduce well over 50 gigatonnes of carbon emissions that would otherwise enter the atmosphere.
This month ENJO Australia is supporting the CNCF by talking about the little things we can do locally that create long-lasting positive change globally.
Let's plant trees for the planet
Every day we all do little things that over time have big consequences for the world around us, it’s time to recognise that the little things matter.
We want to help make cleaner spaces indoors and cleaner air outdoors with ENJO’s The Little Things campaign!
We’re aiming to plant a minimum of 2000 trees this month to help reforest 750 hectares of land at Eurardy Reserve in WA. This CNCF project will conserve biodiversity, improve our understanding of ecosystems and create a long-term carbon sink through landscape restoration.
How to calculate and reduce your carbon footprint
If you’re interested in calculating your carbon footprint, visit the CNCF's 'carbon calculator’.
Here you’ll be asked to input information about your vehicle type, gas and electricity usage (based on your previous bills), waste (based on type and weight), what you spend on food and drink, how far you travel by air and public transport and about events you attend (accommodation, dinners and drinks out etc).
From this information, you will receive a breakdown of your activities, understand where your emissions come from and your total carbon footprint. Using this information you can make changes to your lifestyle to reduce emissions.
How to start reducing your carbon footprint today
Looking at the global carbon emission problem is overwhelming, but the good news is, small emission reductions locally have an impact globally, and collectively we can make a difference.
You can reduce carbon emissions by considering how the things you buy are made and disposed of and how the little things you do daily like eat or travel produce emissions.
Start by calculating your emissions to see where in your life you create the most emissions and then incorporate the below instant emission-reducing tips to start making a difference today.
Eat less meat + more local produce
Choosing locally sourced produce automatically means your meals will have generated fewer carbon emissions. The livestock industry is a huge contributor to carbon emissions as 40% of the whole world’s surface is used exclusively to farm meat. Take a break every now and discover the delicious world of plant-based meals.
Compost food scraps
There are plenty of ways you can reduce food and household waste and it’s important we do as each process of food production contributes to carbon emissions and organic waste in landfill releases methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon. Put your food scraps to good use and your garden will reap the rewards of nutrient-rich compost.
Walk, ride or take public transport
If you’re in the position to walk, take public transport or ride as part of your daily routine (or even just one or two days a week) do it! Taking care of your car can also help lower emissions, for example, keeping tyres properly inflated can increase fuel efficiency.
Combine your errands
We all have responsibilities, weekly tasks and errands we need to get done, and sometimes splitting up errands and tasks might seem like you’re lightening your load, but it might actually take more time and is more likely to use up more energy. Be more energy and time efficient by combining your tasks instead.
Turn off your appliances
Did you know that standby buttons on many appliances use up to 90% of their normal power in standby mode? Unplug and prevent the unnecessary use of excess power.
Start thinking solar
Solar power is a great renewable energy option that would greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Solar is an investment, but one that pays off in the long run for your home and the planet, so if you don’t already have solar, start doing some research into the switch.
Choose reusable over disposable
Whether it’s your morning coffee, lunch on the go or popping to the shops (or even your cleaning products) – choose reusable options at every step and say no to disposable coffee cups, cutlery, straws, lunch containers and plastic bags.
Offset your carbon
It’s really difficult to produce zero emissions, our lifestyles have been designed around the burning of fossil fuels, but offsetting your emissions is an option. Calculate your emissions with the CNCF and they advise how many trees you need to plant to offset your total emissions. Planting native trees supports local wildlife biodiversity, planting just one tree in an open pasture can increase bird biodiversity from almost zero to 80 species.
Reduce waste + your carbon footprint
By switching to a zero waste cleaning routine this month you could plant a native tree with the CNCF and enjoy the benefits of chemical-free cleaning for 3 years, find out more and be part of the little things today.