By: Helen Duan
Every day, sea turtles choke on and die from plastic straws, bags, and more, mistaking our human waste as food. Trees and natural habitats are destroyed by humans to create space to live in, build factories, and take resources, endangering and killing off many species of life. The air we live in and breathe is filled with pollutants like gas from factories, cars, and other vehicles of transportation, sometimes making our skies smoggy, yellow, and grey. The list goes on and on and on and on...
A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases that each individual creates from their actions. The human carbon footprint is important to understand because it explains how we contribute to the climate crisis. For example, when we pollute the air with gas from cars, our carbon footprints contribute to the greenhouse effect, which melts the Artic ice and makes it hard for Artic animals to live. Similarly, our carbon footprints worsens natural disasters, which creates even more destruction and many losses of homes and lives. Find out your carbon footprint and learn more here.
Everyone has actions to increase and decrease our carbon footprint, also related to CO2 emissions. For example, some ways I increase CO2 are using electronics, using pollutive ways of transportation, and eating meat. However, some ways I decrease CO2 is using reusable products, buying fresh food, and planting plants.
One way people increase CO2 emissions is by using electronics a lot. I use electronics to do school homework and other online activities. Additionally, people use it to just relax and watch videos, play games, and call friends and families. Electronics are made by many resources that can only be used once as well as plastic, and this also creates a lot of pollution. Another way people have increased CO2 emissions is when they use cars, trains, buses, and airplanes to get to places, such as school, a local grocery store, or another city. This increases CO2 because they use gas that pollutes the air. Lastly, people increase CO2 emissions by eating lots of meat. Producing meat to eat takes a lot of resources like water, food, and land, and livestock produces more CO2 than any other CO2 producers.
If you do one or more of those things, here are some ways to help decrease your carbon footprint. If you already do some of the following, that is great! One way you can decrease CO2 emissions is buying products that you can use many times without throwing it away. I use metal straws instead of plastic straws. Additionally, I use tote bags instead of plastic bags that they give at markets. Plastic straws and plastic bags can only be used one time, and they can pollute the ocean. They hurt sea animals like turtles. Another way you can decrease CO2 emissions is going to the farmers market every weekend (after quarantine or at least *safely* during the pandemic) to get fresh produce. I usually get fresh-made bread and fresh vegetables. Some grocery stores use factories to put the food in plastic bags or wrapping, and that pollutes the Earth. Lastly, you can plant plants that absorb a lot of CO2 and produce O2 for us human beings. I have plants like succulents, sunflowers, a small redwood tree, and more! There are so many other ways to decrease the amount of CO2 - read about it here.
In conclusion, there are many ways people increase and decrease CO2 emissions. While you increase CO2 emissions by using electronics, using vehicles, or eating lots of meat, you can help decrease CO2 emissions by using reusable products, buying fresh food, and planting plants. We should and we can be more mindful of our carbon footprint and treat our environment with more care, and we need to take action now!
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