Jean-Patrice Delia Describes the Importance of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Climate change can be an overwhelming concept to grasp. Jean-Patrice Delia a mechanical engineering grad from Montreal, Quebec explains that the science is complex, and when it comes to how climate change affects the future, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the exact results. Although this idea brings forth unanswered questions, there are choices you can make in your everyday life to lessen your personal impact on the environment, your carbon footprint.
What Is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production, use, and disposal (or end-of-life) of a product or service. This process involves gasses like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming and other issues of climate change. Climate change is part of the reason for the rising temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns worldwide, changing and destroying ecosystems.
An increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and in carbon footprint, is the primary event associated with climate change. When it comes to an individual’s carbon footprint, most of it comes from transportation, housing, and food production. In fact, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, carbon emissions, in the form of carbon dioxide, have made up more than 80 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted in the United States.
Finally, our carbon footprints can harm the health of humans. Due to carbon change, the citizens of Mali are predicted to have almost double the amount of people suffering from hunger in 40 years. Additionally, vector-borne diseases are more common with higher temperatures as mosquitoes, one of the main carriers, can survive longer and in otherwise inhospitable areas for them.
What Can You Do?
Although the action needed to stop the effects of climate change and drastically improve carbon footprint needs to come from the political and business leaders around the world, there are simple steps you can make every day to create a more positive effect on the environment, wildlife, human health, and economic losses altogether.
So, how can you start reducing your carbon footprint today? Jean-Patrice Delia, Director of Operations for Montreal-based Thermogen Power Services has created a simple guide below:
1. Drive Less
Carbon dioxide emissions from transportation have now surpassed emissions from electricity generation as the top source of greenhouse gases. The electricity generation is shifting into more renewable sources and natural gas, and as a result, lowered its carbon footprint.
Driving less — or even going without a car for a year — could save roughly 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide according to a 2017 study from researchers at Lund University and the University of British Columbia. Alternatives like taking a train, riding a bus, biking, or carpooling with a colleague can help get you started.
2. Avoid Food Waste
Lowering your food waste is another simple way to reduce your carbon footprint — and it can help save you money, too! Here are some ways you can begin wasting less of the food you buy:
· Create a stock list of the food items you already have in your fridge and pantries. By going through your current stock and organizing it regularly, you’ll have less chance of buying what you don’t need.
· Don’t buy bulk if you don’t need to. You may think that buying bulk will save you money, but if you end up throwing food out you are not. Low-priced food isn’t a good deal if you don’t end up eating it before expiration.
· Meal plan. Planning your meals will help you become more conscious at the grocery store instead of carelessly adding food items to your cart that are unnecessary.
· Cut down on meat. The production of meat (red meat in particular) uses a lot of natural resources. Additionally, cows themselves give off methane emissions. While Jean Patrice Delia notes that you don’t have to have a completely meat-free diet, cutting meat from your diet for one or two days a week can still make a difference.
3. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
Not only does reducing waste play an important role in climate protection by keeping trash out of incinerators and landfills, but so too does recycling. While recycling has become more evident today — malls, outdoor parks, and other public settings have made recycling easily accessible — much of the waste that can be recycled still ends up in landfills where it can produce powerful greenhouse gas emissions. But here are some ways you can ensure your waste ends up in the right place:
· Always recycle paper, steel and tin cans.
· Empty and rinse food containers before recycling. Did you know that dirty containers can ruin an entire batch of recyclables?
· Before throwing away, ask yourself: can this be reused?
· Avoid using plastic. Instead, opt for plastic-free, reusable/biodegradable options whenever possible.
· Recycle broken electronics and donate the ones that are working.
· Collect dry cell batteries. You should be able to recycle them through your local municipality.
· Never put non-recyclables in the recycling bin.
· If you’re unsure, ask. At the bottom of most plastic containers, there will be number inside a triangle. These numbers will indicate what kind of resin was used, and whether the container is recyclable (if you’re still unsure, check your city’s website for accepted numbers).
The Time is Now
When it comes to reducing our carbon footprint, we all must start somewhere, and as Jean-Patrice Delia points out, “the time to start is now.” It is your choice how change will be made but making even the smallest shifts can have a positive impact in the short, medium and long term.