These days we’re surrounded by buzzwords that were the refuge of loony lefties and new-agers just a few years back. Global warming, greenhouse effect, carbon footprint. Well, it seems that the panpipe lovers of yesteryear were onto something, and these are now processes that we all need to get our heads around. Yes, that means you.
However the popularisation of such concerns, and the mainstream use of such terminology, doesn’t necessarily make it easier for us to quantify all of this, as individuals going about our daily business. Officially, according to Davie Philip at Sustainable Ireland, our carbon footprint is “A measure of the impact you have on the planet, by the amount of carbon dioxide you emit by consuming energy”.
Ok. But what exactly does that mean for us, sitting here reading our papers? Well, it means we can now calculate how bad little-old-you are for the environment, and what humans should do, hopefully and eventually, to become ‘carbon neutral’.
But, I hear you cry, surely little-old-me can’t do as much as big-old countries like the US, China, Japan and India who are doing the vast majority of the damage? This may be true, but we’ve lived in a bit of an ignorance-bubble since the industrial revolution, when most of this nasty business began, and now we are enlightened.
This means no more head in the sand, it’s-not-my-fault philosophy. Every action has an equal but opposite reaction, and for too long we’ve been taking without giving. Natural resources, pollution, trees…we’ve been taking and taking without consequence. But guess what? There is a consequence, and we’re now learning how serious it is. Continue reading