Our carbon footprint

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Valentina and Antonella share their findings on what carbon footprints are and how we affect our environment with our daily actions.

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Our carbon footprint

  1. 1. Our Carbon FootprintEvery day, we see or hear news that our activites are contributing to climate change.The negative effects of this problem are already visible: more extreme weather, increasedflooding of coastal zones, and species extinction due to the disappearance of habitats aresome of the more obvious signs. Climate change has the potential to contribute to evengreater political instability in already vulnerable regions.Each of us contributes to climate change with our daily activities. The good news is that eachof us can begin to help solve the problem by reducing our carbon footprint.A carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directlyand indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide(CO2). Our carbon footprint calculator estimates how many tons of carbon dioxide and othergreenhouse gases your choices create each year.CO2 is produced by the burning of fossilfuels which is used to provide energy for our homes, by the cars we travel in and by themanufacture and transport of goods we buy. In the UK, each person produces, on average, 11tonnes of carbon a year. Carbon emissions, most notably carbon dioxide (CO2), are part of acollection of gases that negatively influence the quality of our air and increase thegreenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases have a direct influence on the environment, causingextreme weather changes, a global temperature increase, the loss of ecosystems andpotentially hazardous health effects for people.Inevitably, in going about our daily lives each of us contributes to the greenhouse gasemissions that are causing climate change. However, there are many things each of us, asindividuals, can do to reduce our carbon emissions. The choices we make in our homes, ourtravel, the food we eat, and what we buy and throw away all influence our carbon footprint .In the UK, each person produces, on average 11 tonnes of carbon a year.These are how and where these tonnes of carbon come from:Phones: 0.1 tonnesAll sources of CO2 from communications including computers and mobile phonechargers.Our carbon footprint 1
  2. 2. Education: 0.49 tonnesThese are emissions relating to schools, travel to and from school, and the productionof books and newspapers.Aviation: 0.68 tonnesThe fastest growing source of CO2 emissions, thanks in part to the boom in low-costair travel.Commuting: 0.81 tonnesTravelling to and from the workplace on both public and private transport includingflying.Hygiene: 1.34 tonnesIncludes emissions from the health sector and from individuals bathing and washing.Clothing: 1.00 tonnesEnergy and emissions generated in producing, transporting and cleaning clothes andshoes.Household: 1.37 tonnesThis covers non-heating emissions generated in the home from electrical appliances,furnishings and from the construction of the building itself.Food: 1.39 tonnesGenerated by cooking, eating and drinking, including how many miles food hastravelled to get to our homes, including driving to supermarkets.Heating: 1.49 tonnesSecond biggest source of CO2 resulting from burining of gas, electricity and oil. It isone of the easiest areas to reduce by turning down heating.Recreation: 1.95 tonnesThe single largest source of emissions. Leisure activities including seaside trips, TV,videos and stereos.Our carbon footprint 2

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