All of us in the world affect the environment one way or another. Driving to work, turning on a light switch in a room, all these things have an impact on the environment. This is called your “Carbon Footprint”. Your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases that you release into the atmosphere in a year, and it is measured in units of carbon dioxide.
It is important for children around the world to have knowledge about this. Being the next generation, they have to be more aware of the ways to save their environment for their future use.
A carbon footprint is made up of the sum of two parts, the primary footprint and the secondary footprint
1. The primary footprint is a measure of our direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. car and plane). We have direct control of these.
2. The secondary footprint is a measure of the indirect CO2 emissions from the whole lifecycle of products we use – those associated with their manufacture and eventual breakdown. To put it very simply – the more we buy the more emissions will be caused on our behalf.
Ways to reduce your primary footprint
Here’s a list of simple things you can do immediately
- Turn it off when not in use (lights, television, DVD player, Hi Fi, computer etc)
- Turn down the central heating slightly (try just 1 to 2 degrees C). Just 1 degree will help reduce your heating bill by about 8%
- Turn down the water heating setting (just 2 degrees will make a significant saving)
- Fill your dish washer and washing machine with a full load – this will save you water, electricity, and washing powder
- Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need
- Do your weekly shopping in a single trip
- Hang out the washing to dry rather than tumble drying it
- Fit energy saving light bulbs
- Install thermostatic valves on your radiators
- Recycle your grey water
- Replace your old fridge / freezer (if it is over 15 years old), with a new one with energy efficiency rating of “A”
- Replace your old boiler with a new energy efficient condensing boiler
- Car share to work, or for the kids school run
- Use the bus or a train rather than your car
- For short journeys either walk or cycle
- Try to reduce the number of flights you take
- See if your employer will allow you to work from home one day a week
- Next time you replace your car – check out diesel engines. With one of these you can even make your own Biodiesel fuel.
Ways to reduce your secondary footprint
- Don’t buy bottled water if your tap water is safe to drink
- Buy local fruit and vegetables, or even try growing your own
- Buy foods that are in season locally
- Don’t buy fresh fruit and vegetables which are out of season, they may have been flown in
- Reduce your consumption of meat
- Try to only buy products made close to home (look out and avoid items that are made in the distant lands)
- Buy organic produce
- Don’t buy over packaged products
- Recycle as much as possible
Think carefully about the type of activities you do. Judge them to see if any of these cause an increase in carbon emissions?
It is very important for the international schools of today to make sure that the children act towards going green. Many good international schools already have this topic included in their curriculum. Children have to be made aware of the facts about the carbon foot prints and measures they can follow to reduce this.