Since the industrial revolution, humans have been drastically increasing the emission of carbon into the atmosphere, leading our society into a new age while slowly damaging our planet’s ecosystem and leaving behind a serious environmental footprint. According to David Attenborough, the emission of carbon in 1937 was around 280 million molecules per 2,3 billion people. Even then, there were signs of an enormous spike in the following 50 years if certain preventative steps were not implemented.
And unfortunately, the political situation in the world, the Cold War and Space race, and everlasting competition on who is going to “run the world” only worsened the problem. More and more ecologists are warning us about the devastating effects this can have on future generations if we do not take the necessary steps.
What is an environmental footprint exactly?
The term “environmental footprint” can refer to a series of different factors which essentially only worsen the emission of carbon into the atmosphere, thereby increasing the greenhouse effect and causing what we now call “global warming,” or a series of weather and climate changes affecting our planet’s ecosystem. Water levels rise as a result of global warming. It disrupts animal habitats, accelerates the melting of the South and North poles, and hence alters tides in different parts of the world. These changed weather conditions caused by the trapped carbon in our atmosphere can later affect the production of food, the extinction of animals due to their damaged environment, and health issues. We humans, as consumers, have drastically contributed to the greenhouse effect as the emission of carbon is mostly due to the use of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, most of us are unaware of what can cause higher emissions and therefore do not know how exactly to reduce their effects.
For example, we may begin by altering our food, as a significant amount of resources are expended to keep large commercial animal farms operating to meet the demands of first-world countries and our growing consumer culture. We may also strive to break out of mainstream tendencies of ongoing technological advancement in terms of items we don’t need, such as a new phone every month. We may strive to lessen our carbon footprint by adopting eco-friendly and reusable materials, reducing the need for some staples, and eliminating items like plastic shopping bags. As we’ll see later, there are more successful methods that do demand some initial expenditure.
Efficient energy usage and eco-friendly home adjustments
All the advancements we have made from the industrial revolution onward have been for the sole purpose of creating a better life. Yet again, our consumer society has caused more waste products, and it is estimated that a single-family home produces around 70 tons of carbon dioxide. How come? Well, the use of electricity, heating, and other fuels to keep your home running is one way of increasing carbon emissions. One way to reduce these costs of living is by becoming more energy-efficient and making adjustments to your home. For example, you can always replace your old roof, and your new roof or roof repairs will reduce the amount of heat escaping from your home. You reduce the electricity bills, spend less on heating and use fewer fuels for that purpose. One interesting innovation has been eco-friendly roofs, which have become more popular in major cities, as they are covered in plants and greenery. The attempt is to turn the dull and grey landscape of cities into green oases, thereby reducing the number of carbon emissions and also the heat produced by the concrete. Because plants are natural carbon absorbers, covering your roof in plants and creating an eco-friendly roof may help you stay fresh and cool in the summer and warm in the winter while reducing total carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Another fascinating suggestion is to install solar panels on the roof to reduce the carbon footprint we leave behind by using the energy the sun provides. Solar panels can be connected to your heat and electric installation, so you’ll reduce your monthly bills and save the environment.
Interestingly enough, you can create a mini oasis on your roof and also make a little greenhouse of your own, reusing the water created in the distillation process. With a high-end filtration system, the distilled water can be recirculated and used in your bathroom, reducing the amount of water wasted when you shower, clean the dishes or are simply watering the garden. Among other things, your eco-friendly roof can become the perfect ground for growing domestic products, and not only are your home tomatoes delicious, but they are also pesticide-free. Eco-friendly roofs have been a genuine and newly developed idea, as big cities are covering their industrial facilities and skyscrapers with solar panels and gardens, thereby creating a more eco-friendly environment.
In the last ten years, new concepts have emerged, such as “cool roofs,” which involve building roofs out of materials like gravel and white glue that naturally reflect the sun’s rays, reducing the amount of heat entering your home. As a result, you should be less dependent on air conditioning and consume less power. You may always cover your roof with clay tiles or shingles, which are natural materials that can disintegrate on their own over time. By choosing natural materials, you may substantially reduce the amount of long-term waste you leave behind, even after you’re long gone.
If the right steps were to be taken now, chances are our future could look much brighter and defy the apocalyptic predictions of some scientists. Similar to our own bodies, our planet has the unique ability to heal itself, and although some waste will stay on it for quite some time, it could eventually dissolve.