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What is My Carbon Footprint?

kids carbon footprint

kids carbon footprint

Our carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of our activities. Greenhouse gases are important because they trap heat in the atmosphere, making our planet warm enough to support life. But there is also such a thing as too many greenhouse gases and this contributes to climate change. Climate change is a serious problem that is already having a negative impact on the planet, like the melting of the polar ice caps—leaving those cuddly polar bears without a place to live. By reducing our carbon footprint, we can slow the pace of climate change and protect the environment for future generations.

How does travel affect my carbon footprint?

When we travel, we often use planes, trains, and automobiles to get where we need to go. These modes of transportation all release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, warming up the planet more quickly than in the past. As travelers, we also tend to generate more waste when we’re on the go, such as food waste and single-use plastics. When food is placed in our local landfills, it breaks down and produces methane, a greenhouse gas even more harmful than carbon dioxide. The plastics, unfortunately, linger and become increasingly toxic as they begin to breakdown. These chemicals can then seep into our groundwater or make their way into our oceans, where they can have a devastating affect on both animals and people.

Calculator courtesy of: Global Footprint Network

How can I reduce my carbon footprint?

There are so many things we can do to help reduce our carbon footprint, such as:

  1. Choose more sustainable forms of transportation. Rather than flying, consider travel by train or bus. For shorter trips, ride your bike or carpool with friends. Together, we can cut down on the amount of greenhouse gas being produced.
  2. Pack light. The more luggage you have, the more fuel is needed to transport it.
  3. Be mindful of your waste. Recycle and compost whenever possible, and avoid single-use plastics. Reusable water bottles and bags can help with this.
  4. Support sustainable businesses. When you’re traveling, look for businesses that are committed to sustainability. The more we do this, the more likely other businesses will get on board with environmentally-friendly practices.
  5. Travel during the off-season and choose a destination closer to home. This limits the amount of gas being produced at one time.
kids carbon footprint

Becoming a leader of change

There are also ways you can become an environmental activist. Activism is when we stand up for what we believe in to bring about positive change. Consider these ideas to get started:

  1. Join an environmental club or group. Work together with friends to make a difference. Consider organizing a town-wide cleanup day or create an advocacy plan for your own community. Every little bit helps!
  2. Write to your elected officials. Tell them how important it is to care for our planet, so they know it’s an issue that matters to you.
  3. Educate your friends and family about climate change. Not everyone understands how their own actions contribute to climate change. Help spread the word!
  4. Volunteer for an environmental organization. There are so many established nonprofits already doing amazing work to save our planet. Join them to continue your environmental education and help save mother Earth along the way.

You are not alone in your efforts to reduce your carbon footprint. There are many people and organizations already fighting climate change. By learning more about the impact you have on your world, and taking steps to change how you live and travel, you can become a leader in making our planet a better place for everyone to live.

kids carbon footprint

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