Meriam Webster defines “carbon footprint” as:
“The amount of greenhouse gasses and specifically carbon dioxide
emitted by something (as a person’s activities or a product’s manufacture
and transport) during a given period.”
Today, individuals and corporations both try to mitigate their carbon footprint as much as possible.
From switching out incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs in favor of LED bulbs in the home,
to the design and construction of buildings on a grand scale, people are working on it.
As the old adage goes, “every little bit helps.”
“The more we can decrease our impact
the better off we’ll be.
This is, after all, the only world
we have to call home.”
Historically, the time period from the mid-18th century through the mid-19th century (AD) is
commonly referred to as “The Industrial Revolution.”
Society saw a shift towards the mass production of many products throughout Europe and
The various processes used created by-products such as air pollutants and toxic chemicals.
As knowledge increased about the potential consequences of these adjunct issues, society
struggled to find ways to diminish their impact.
Some recent examples include:
*Reduced Energy Consumption:
Items like the aforementioned LED light bulbs have contributed to a lowered consumption
of electricity for the same end result, lighting one’s home or office.
Less demand means power plants produce less waste.
Hybrid cars and improved gas mileage in engines are other examples of how air emissions
have been reduced.
Innovations can include things we use on a daily basis, some of which we may not even
realize are at work for us.
One example, water bottles.
Try to imagine someplace, anyplace really, where at least several people are not sipping
their bottled water brand of choice.
The manufacturers of those bottles have found ways to reclaim the raw materials used and
have developed methodologies to reduce the amount of plastic used in each unit produced.
An example of improved engineering that we might not even think of is something called
“wear plate technology.”
Leaders in this industry like A.J. Weller develop materials and programs designed to make
industrial manufacturing plants more efficient.
The more efficient the manufacturing of the items we use, a corresponding reduction in
pollutants is found.
Back in the 1970s the world faced what we now call simply “The Energy Crisis.”
One day America received a rude awakening to find hundreds of cars in line at gas stations
around the country, their owners waiting hour upon hour to put some fuel in the car’s tank.
Jump forward a decade or so, and America was told our landfill space (that is to say, our
garbage dumps) was close to running out.
Since those times, consumers have been made aware of the need to “reduce, reuse, recycle”
and to conserve our resources.
Building Design and Construction
New buildings are being designed and constructed, and existing buildings retrofitted,
Rooftop greenspaces are now being incorporated into the buildings, particularly in
These can reduce energy costs by absorbing some of the sun’s energy, providing recreational
areas and even growing fruits and vegetables.
We are also seeing advances in the use of solar panels to power buildings.
The first incarnations of the technology to turn windows into solar energy collection cells
are already here.
Imagine every window in a home or office building being a solar panel capable of trans-
forming the power of Sol into electricity to power our lives.
It sounds like something out of Star Trek, but maybe the future is now.
While the debate rages about how much, or how little, mankind has impacted our environment,
it seems clear that some damage has been done.
How much damage?
That’s an issue for the people with all the initials after their names (PhD., etc.) and (sadly) the
politicians to hash out.
To my way of thinking, the more we can decrease our impact the better off we’ll be.
This is, after all, the only world we have to call home.
What steps are you taking to reduce your carbon footprint?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.