The term carbon footprint bounces around a lot, especially on Earth Day. It also gets misused.
What a carbon footprint is, actually, is just a metric for understanding an individual or an entity’s impact on the environment. It’s specific to carbon dioxide, greenhouse gasses, and fossil fuels in most scientific conversations. In a less formal or academic setting, a “carbon footprint” definition can run the gambit. From your printer paper usage to a lack of rechargeable batteries to how you keep the bugs off your tomato plant, the most seemingly innocuous activity or habit can be villainized.
Ugh, that’s depressing!
Chin up, grasshopper! There’s so much you can do to give Mother Earth a helping hand.
Here are three of the top issues that cause the most stress on the Earth.
Recently, we conducted a survey and we asked 120 people about planting trees. Yeah, yeah, we know you can’t replant a rainforest. Hold on for the point. Our poll: how often are people planting trees? The majority of our respondents say they are tree planters! Some of them just are not especially active. In the name of progress, 15 billion trees are being cut down each year. Humans only plant back three billion. We can’t really measure how many trees grow “naturally”.
With about 300 billion trees on the entire planet, 15 billion is a lot to lose in one year. What if you have 300 dollars? Let’s say your needs require 15 dollars a week. Your job pays three dollars weekly. This isn’t good news! Even if you find some change in the sofa, you’ll be broke quickly. So what can you do to stop deforestation? Well, probably not a lot.
What you can do!
You can plant more than one tree every five years. There are roughly 7 billion people on the planet. If half of them would plant a few trees per year … we’d be closer to sustaining the current amount of trees we have. In order for a resource to be renewable … you have to do the thing that renews it. Read here how to grow a sapling from an acorn! Commit to planting two trees each year for each member of your family. Here’s how to grow a maple tree from a cutting! The thing about planting trees is that it doesn’t just reduce your carbon footprint, it’s like the helium of eco-sustainability. Plant enough trees and metaphorically speaking, you’re not even touching the ground, let alone leaving a carbon footprint!
The most obvious thing the average person can do to combat pollution is to eliminate or at least curtail their own creation of any types of pollution. We have to preserve our air, water, and land mass to keep the planet inhabitable. Statistically, we are not straight A students in this subject. Maybe you need your Suburban for your soccer mom duties, so a Nissan Leaf is out of the question. We know you can’t cram six kids in an economy car. We wouldn’t even wish that on you!
What you can do!
Pack your errands into one trip. Avoiding multiple trips to the store, bank etc. is helpful in reducing the carbon dioxide your car produces. Burning one gallon of gas creates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. That doesn’t sound right, does it? Here’s our source. So, that alone is a pretty big deal. Instead of carbon footprints, our cars tend to leave invisible carbon tire tracks everywhere they go.
The biggest issue with plastic is how pervasive it’s become. Look around you. What is plastic? I’m sure you can count multiple things. It takes 500 to 1000 years for plastic to degrade and we recover about 5% of the plastic we produce. The chemicals in plastic are absorbed by the human body. 93% of Americans over the age of six test positive for BPA. BPA (Bisphenol-A) can mimic hormones and disrupt the endocrine system. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. Imagine a floating mass of plastic twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
What you can do!
Move toward things you can reuse and away from disposable items. 50 percent of the plastic we produce, we use once. Volunteer to help clean up a section of waterway or beach. Repurpose plastic containers. Recover and recycle plastic. Avoid products or companies who aren’t actively pursuing eco-friendly packaging. Ask your favorite companies to double their efforts to reduce their use of plastics that are not either recycled or degradable and understand the difference. Educate others; share this article. Much like planting trees, volunteering for cleanup efforts can also help to reverse your personal carbon footprint!
Here at American Property Experts…
we concentrate a lot on landscaping and gardening. Because we recycle trees into organic mulch, we are huge proponents of planting trees back. Our business is also screened topsoil and soil amendment. We, of course, want people to use our products. We all have families to take care of. The bigger and more impactful reason to use APE products is that they are repurposed. If we aren’t creating landscaping products to make your yard nicer, if we aren’t supplying a nursery with soil amendment or organic screened topsoil, we are making bio-fuel. Nothing goes to waste here.