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GEOG 301 Carbon Footprint Lab

GEOG 301

Carbon Footprint Lab

As we all know, climate change has a significant impact on our planet, which is quite apparent in the last couple of years as our global temperature has become warmer and warmer as we progress year by year. Due to the warmer temperature, we have been taking a significant part in reducing our CO2 emission in order to prevent further damage to our planet for the younger generations. Now, the real goal is to do our own part to achieve the same goal that we are all working towards, that is to sustain our environment in any way possible even if that means taking a small step in making a change in our everyday life. If everyone takes baby steps to make positive contribution, we can make a big difference in our environment and make the world a better place.

Carbon Footprint Calculator, a calculator that estimates the emission of carbon dioxide and fossil fuels of an individual in the given four areas: Home, Food, Purchases and Transportation. It is essentially an estimator of energy consumption made by an individual to provide an insight on how much an individual emit carbon dioxide. This can substantially help an individual come to a realization in terms of their carbon footprint and allows an individual to compare the results of those who are also living in the region. The calculator provides data which helps people to become more aware of the excessive emission. Bay Area is considered to be a culprit of excessive emission due to our overpopulated population and the Silicon Valley industry. Bay Area will face a lot of issues as there will be an increase in sea levels due to climate change.

This report is essentially my personal consumption of fossil fuel and carbon emission using the ISCFC. By using this calculator, each individual is able to see an estimate of their fossil fuel consumption and carbon emission in the categories of Food, Transport and Home Energy and Appliances. The questions that are asked when using the calculator includes, “how many calories you eat in a day”, “how many days you take showers each week and how long you take showers”, and “how many miles you drive every week”. After answering all the questions that are being asked, it will then provide an individual a result of carbon footprints in kg.

It is essential to select a country because the carbon emission and consumption of resources is different between each country and household. For instance, United States, Canada, and Australia have the highest carbon footprint while India, China, and Brazil have the lowest carbon footprint. Therefore, for a household living in the US, the carbon footprint will be higher compared to a household living in India as shown in the data below label Figure A. To illustrate, if you compare a household in India vs. US, one would expect a household living in India to have a lower carbon emission (carbon footprint) than a household living in the US in terms of consumption in beef. That is because it takes about 1,800 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. Since India is considered a third world country, there are less households who consume beef because a lot of people are living under the poverty.

 

Results based on input based in California

Category (kgs)

You

Your Region

Home

2,458 kgs

3757 kgs

Food

2,729 kgs

2223 kgs

Purchases

743 kgs

1191 kgs

Transportation

12,840 kgs

2557 kgs

My Purchases category is low because I always buy products that have minimal packaging. As for my clothes, I try not to buy as many new clothes as possible and whenever I can I go thrifting to sustain our environment. In addition, I buy clothes that have good quality that can last for years.

My home category is the second lowest because I use the latest technology such google nest to be more energy efficient. In addition, I always switch off electrical devices and never leave the water running at all time whenever I am brushing my teeth or washing the dishes. The light bulbs that I use in my house is also energy efficient.  

My food category is high compared to my region because I eat meat home and at restaurants. And, I rely on take-outs most of the time because I don’t cook at home. Because I rely on take-outs, I am using plastic for container which is why my food category is high.

My transportation category is the highest because I live far from SFSU. I live in Hayward and I travel 64-mile roundtrip once a week. Last year, in December I went back to my hometown, Burma. The flight was about 18 hours one way, so it contributed to higher carbon footprint.

What actions can be taken to reduce carbon footprint (Home, Food, Purchases, Transportation)?  

  • Home: I will insulate the house to keep the house warm. Consequently, it will help me reduce the usage of heater.
  • Food: I will follow vegetarian lifestyle; consume less meat and more vegetables. I will also buy food with minimal packaging and use reusable bottles and containers.
  • Purchases: I will go thrifting more often and recycle my clothes. I will also buy quality clothes so that it will last longer.
  • Transportation: I will also try to carpool with other students to San Francisco State University and rely on public transportation.

What recommendations can students give to alleviate school’s collective carbon footprint?

  • For restrooms, hand dryers should be installed to eliminate the usage of paper towels.
  • School cafes and restaurants should require students to bring reusable bottles and containers when purchasing food/drinks. 

  • In classrooms and hallways, motion sensored lights should be installed to be more energy efficient.
  • Automatic sinks/faucets should be installed in restrooms in order to reduce unnecessary usage of water (to prevent students from keeping the water running at all times when washing their hands).
  • Classrooms should use natural light as much as possible or use solar panels.

To conclude, I think we should all be more environmentally friendly and be responsible of our own actions. We should all be aware that the actions have consequences to our environment and the planet, so we should be making positive contributions to our planet in order to prevent further more damage. If we all take initiatives, then one by one it will make a big difference. We have already made innumerable damages to our environment, so nothing can be done. However, it is not too late to save it if we put enough effort in trying to become a more energy efficient and eco-friendly individual. Right now, we are taking the resources we have for granted but in the near future for our future generations, these resources will be harder to attain. I think changing our day-to-day lifestyles from our homes to purchases to transportation to our food choices will be beneficial in the long run if not in the near future. In terms of transportation, I think a lot can be done. I think carpooling or taking commuting using public transportations should be encouraged which will greatly reduce the carbon emission. As for food, I think restaurants should reduce the usage of plastic containers instead restaurants should require customers to bring their own reusable containers and bottles which will considerably reduce the usage of plastic. With each change, there will be an impact. All we need to do is to be mindful of our own actions and the consequences it will have on the planet.

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