In short, it is the total greenhouse gases emitted by a organization, country, event or product. And greenhouse gases is probably the single element that contributes most to the global warming effect that the Earth is experiencing now.
In the old days, no one bothers about what is carbon footprint...
The fact is that during those days, it doesn't take a lot to live life. One would walk to most places that he or she would need to go. Most amenities that was essential for survival was within walking distances. If it's not within walking distance, people those days will probably try to live without it.
There is not a single electronic or electrical device that needs to be carried around at all times.When the sun goes down, it'd mean that it's time to rest and sleep. The only carbon footprint per person would probably be the fuel needed to cook his or her food on the basis of 3 meals a day.
Fast forward to present time, the carbon footprint per person would have probably tripled or quadrapled.
On each and every individual, there is a cellphone sucking up energy every second. The amount of fuel we use for transport is appalling when compared with the "zero" amount about 2-3 decades ago.
On top of that, when the night falls, the carbon footprint just gets larger! Fluorescent lights, air condition, TV, computers, gaming consoles. Just name something leisure you do after returning from work, there's bound to be electricity involved.
Our dependence on electricity runs our daily lives. Everything that requires electricity means it is one way or another derived from the burning of fuel.
Well, that is the most economical way of generating electricity. And the sad part is that the more cheaper the fuel used for burning, the more unwanted carbon gases are released into the atmosphere. And for more complete burning of better fuel with the least harmful pollutants released, it will no longer be economical to provide electricity for the masses.
It is true that we can consider using alternative natural sources of energy, such as harnessing the power of the wind, water or even sun. But all these natural sources are not fully utilised by means of our current cutting edge technology. This means that much of the potential energy of nature is lost when they are converted to raw electricity. With hydro-dams, windmills and solar panels, we probably only converting 10-20% of the potential energy to electricity and with our current carbon footprint, we are still not able to fully be dependent on natural sources of energy alone.
Are we going to keep on burning our resources just to keep on living our lifestyles as it is today? Haven't most of us realised that for every time we are using our cellphones, watching TV or even sleeping in the air-conditioned room, that a little part of Earth is being burned at the same time?
I take it a personal responsibility to reduce my carbon footprint. Starting with myself and also inculcating this as a habit within my household. To start off, I'd be turning off electrical devices at home such as TVs and computers when I do not need them. Leaving the plug on means there will still be some amount of standby power used. I'd be even flipping the mains off my aircondition unit during the day when it is not in use. I'd also be reducing the temperature of my shower heater, we do not need boiling temperatures for taking our daily showers anyway.
Last but not least, if my household electrical bills are economical and affordable, I'd not have written this passage about carbon footprint. But since I'd started writing, many enlightening thoughts about Earth and conserving precious resources come into my mind.
I am a Eco-warrior... but only for the sake of my thin wallet...
Read about my other "green" articles here!
Movie Review : Avatar [ with relevance to our own Planet Earth ]
Last Wild Tiger in China : Eaten
World's Worst Smuggler of Endangered Species
If you are not aware of your own personal carbon footprint, just look at the amount you spend on electricity and transport for a start.