How have your lungs been lately? Living in the city means we are prosumers of carbon. The things we do produce carbon while we consume it as well. On this special day, Joanna Lee looks at simple reminders of why and how we should reduce our carbon footprint.
Every year, January 28 is designated as a day to represent the global response to the Kyoto Protocol which binds countries legally to reduce their carbon emissions by 2020. The effects of climate change are already being seen with more irregular weather phenomenon causing either floods or heat waves. If New Delhi’s smog is anything to go by, we must start now or risk our health and our children’s health.
Malaysia has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. While some find it a challenge to use our public transport, there are many other actions we could take to reduce our carbon footprint.
The carbon dioxide molecule is small, and yet when put together, its footprint on our lives is immeasurable. Perhaps the impact can be immeasurable too, with each person’s small efforts to reduce it.
An environmental research journal report by Swedish researchers has identified four things people can do to reduce their carbon dioxide footprint.
- Going car-free saves about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. Malaysians have the third highest car ownership in the world at 93% and 54% of the population have more than one car in our households.
- Eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.\
- Avoiding airplane travel saves about 1.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per trip.
- Having one fewer child saves an average of 58.6 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emission reductions per year!
3 simple things Malaysian can do:
- Drive slower
Speeding and unnecessary acceleration can reduce your mileage by up to 33%, wastes petrol and money and increases your carbon footprint.
- Reduce water wastage
Harvest rain water with an extra container for gardening, household washing or car washes. Malaysians actually use more water than people in the United States and Australia!
- Make a habit to switch off!
Switch off lights and air-conditioning when you leave the room. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED lights.