Thursday, January 12, 2012
Our Environmental Footprint by Nelson Collazo-Serrano
Warner Pacific College
January 11, 2012
Our Environmental Footprint
Our usage of natural resources can play a major role in our environment’s future. As individuals, sometimes we are not aware of the effects of our daily activities have on the environment. The majority of the time, we are under the impression that as individuals there is little we can do to help Mother Nature. On the contrary, we cannot afford to wait for society to come out with a solution as a whole to our environmental problems. As individuals, we can help the environment by taking responsibilities for some of our daily routines and actions that create a carbon foot print in the environment. Actions such as our consumption of food, transportation, housing, and energy can help or damage the environment.
“A carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).” (Time For Change, 2011).
There are various simple changes that we all can apply to our daily lives to help reduce our negative mark on the environment. In regards of what we eat, we should consider buying more organics, and in season foods from our local farmer's market. By doing so, we can avoid buying foods that have gone long distances to reach us. The fuel and emission created by trucks bringing those products are harmful to the environment. To counteract such effects, homeowners with suitable backyards should build their own gardens to grow vegetables that can be used on salads on a daily basis. If we must go to markets to do our shopping, we should consider buying food with less packaging as possible to reduce the amount of garbage those excess packaging creates. As a family, we could come to a consensus to have one meal a week without meat to reduce the greenhouse gas effects in the environment.
Another big issue against the environment is the way we get around doing our chores. The amounts of vehicles we use in our daily lives are placing a big dent in our air quality. Once again we can integrate some changes as individuals to help solve this problem. We should utilize more public transportation and carpool with co-workers as much as possible. There are programs such as Ride Share (www.rideshareonline.icarpool.com) which allows you to pair up with individuals that have the similar travel schedule as yours. Also, we should ride our bikes or even walk to places more often if such places are nearby. Another step is having our vehicles tuned and check the air filter monthly to avoid bad emissions that can consequently harm our environment. To help our vehicles with gas mileage, we should maintain adequately inflated tires.
Our homes are also tools in which we can help the environment. We can start by maintaining the thermostat in our houses as low as possible during the winter months. If we feel cold, the usage of more blankets is recommended. During the summer, lower the use of the air conditioning to a minimum to avoid the waste of energy. Also we should keep the air conditioner’s filters clean to help the apparatus work efficiently. While not at home, unplug all electronics devices that are not in use. Among those electronics devices are coffee makers, toasters, and video games consoles, because even when turned off, such items are still adsorbing energy. We can also help the environment inside our homes by tacking action. We could take shorter and less frequent showers to save water, and save the energy necessary to heat up those showers. Run dishwashers and laundry washer machines only when having full loads of dishes and laundry. We should avoid washing cars in our driveways to avoid wasting water. Take the vehicles to carwashes that use recycled water. Do not waste water cleaning decks, walkways, or driveways with the hose, but instead use a broom; a little elbow grease can be beneficial for our health.
In conclusion, each one of us needs to step up and take responsibility for the way we use our natural resources. We cannot for to wait for our government, society, and communities to take action. As individuals, we should take the bull by the horns and do every little thing we can to help the environment. Those little things can amount to big things if many of us band together to help Mother Nature. The legacy of a clean land, air, and water is the best heritage we can give to future generations.
Smith, S. (2003 ). How Can I Reduce my Ecological Footprint? Retrieved January 7, 2012, from www.wisegeek.com: http://www.wisegeek.com/how-can-i-reduce-my-ecological-footprint.htm
Time For Change. (2011). What is a carbon footprint. Retrieved January 6, 2012, from timeforchange.org: http://timeforchange.org/what-is-a-carbon-footprint-definition?page=2
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2011). Environment: The Science Behind The Stories. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.