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Carbon Footprint

Have you ever wondered why the budget for your personal cooling system has increased over the years? A few decades ago a hand fan was all that we needed to keep cool. Today even the electric fans don’t seem enough. We have now graduated to an air conditioner in at least one room of the house, if not all.

The reason is quite simple.

A constant increase in temperature across the world over the past few years got the Met departments and weather scientists of the world worried and working in search of answers to this change. The answer was GLOBAL WARMING, not that global warming can be an answer to anything. It brought with it complicated reasons and a whole bunch of formulae. It meant to explain, the disappearance of the big tree down your road, or the effect of gases released by the industries in every city, the combined effect of which was that, the temperatures were rising for the first time in 20 million years. In fact, scientists also began making predictions such as the end of the Himalayan Glaciers by 2035 only to retract it later on.

What is carbon footprint?
One of the terms that was coined at the Kyoto protocol as a result of all the efforts by the UN to combat global warming was “Carbon Footprint”. Carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon we generate through our various activities during the day. The footprint would have to include the following complicated gases-Carbon dioxide, Methane, Nitrous oxide, Hydrofluorocarbons, Perfluorocarbons and Sulphur hexafluoride.

Over the years, the power game of who is responsible for the excess emission of the non pronounceable gases has begun. In the past 20 odd years the countries haven’t been able to come to a consensus. After all, no one likes to take responsibility for the world’s problem. The powerful countries like USA, Australia and Canada all tried their best to bully the developing countries like India, China and Brazil to decrease their gaseous emissions in their bid to control global warming. The counter argument, of course, is that the BIG three are biggest pollutants in the world. This bullying has continued over the years from Kyoto to the recent Copenhagen. The recent summit has been termed as a “Flopenhagan” for its failure to bring about a consensus amongst the UN member nations for decreasing carbon emissions.

Environmentalists have adopted the World Wide Web as a tool to educate the people about the environment, its concerns and possible remedies. There are websites dedicated to calculating your carbon footprint, recycling paper, usage of natural fuel or how fast the world is going to disappear. In fact, Al Gore’s “In Convenient Truth”, is one of the foremost movies to have visually shown people what they are up against.

How can we help control our own carbon footprint?

  1. Saving electricity by Switching off lights when not needed
  2. Using solar energy to heat water
  3. Doing as much work during the day, so that we don’t need artificial light to do work.
  4. Planting more trees, and cutting less tress if not none at all
  5. Recycling paper
  6. Avoid using paper as far as possible
  7. Banning use of plastic bags and promoting cloth bags instead
  8. Carpooling, whenever and wherever possible

The time to act has come, for if we don’t act now the landscape of the world will change forever.

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