Agroecology AECL 1000
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nathanael Schmeler on Tuesday October 27, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to AECL 1000 at University of Wyoming taught by David Wilson in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 21 views. For similar materials see /class/230317/aecl-1000-university-of-wyoming in Agriculture Education at University of Wyoming.
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Date Created: 10/27/15
Your Global Carbon Footprint BY Annette Forden Editor Kaylan Wilson Researcher Brent Bright Programmer Instructor Dr David Wilson April 11 2008 In today s fast paced and hectic world how often do consumers think about the actual impact they have on the environment The terms going green and recycle are becoming a part of everyday life but are consumers aware of the simple steps they can take to reduce their carbon footprint Whether or not one believes in the concept of global warming are they doing their part to reduce the impact they have on the environment strictly out of moral obligation Ever increasingly many things are taken for granted including the environment due to the conveniences people have become accustomed to Reducing one s global carbon footprint through decreased reliance on oil and other fossil fuels in all aspects of everyday life can have an impact on achieving a more climatologically stable environment First it is important to explain what the term carbon footprint encompasses Even though this term is used often today there are many ambiguous definitions to describe it The commonality between the many definitions is that the carbon footprint stands for a certain amount of gaseous emissions that are relevant to climate change and associated with human production The differences lie in whether it encompasses only direct C02 emissions or should include the full life cycle of the activities under consideration If only the direct C02 emissions are accounted for the definition simply considers on site emissions of the product process or person However if the full life cycle of the activity is considered the definition includes all indirect emissions from upstream production as well as those directly from the product person or process4 Another disagreement in the definitions is how to measure the 002 emissions The debate lies in whether to use an area based measurement such as hectares or a pressure indicator expressing only the amount of carbon emissions which is measured in tons4 Taking into consideration the discrepancies previously outlined a definition that includes all activities that need to be evaluated is a measure of the exclusive total amount of carbon dioxide emissions that is directly and indirectly caused by an activity or is accumulated over the life stages of a product 4 The only gas that is considered is 002 and is measured in mass units kilograms or tons The conversion from mass units or tons to an area measurement such as hectares would cause increased uncertainties and errors4 Now that the term carbon footprint has been defined it is important to determine the major contributors to household 002 emissions The largest contributor to household 002 emissions is transportation which in 2004 emitted roughly 1750 to 1900 million metric tons of 002 per year3 Transportation is involved either directly or indirectly in every aspect of a person s life Some examples of direct transportation include driving a car riding on a bus or train flying in an airplane or use of farm equipment Transportation is indirectly involved in people s lives through the use of household goods These goods were delivered to the stores by trucks or even further down the distribution line through trains or airplanes One way to decrease the dependence on oil is through the use of ethanol but the question is whether this option is actually viable and reduces the amount of 002 emitted Ethanol is not a realistic alternative due to the restriction on the amount of land available for corn plantationsf Ethanol does decrease the amount of 002 emitted into the air but becomes unimportant when considering the ecological impact from the entire process The ecological footprint is measured in hectares and takes into consideration the carbon footprint as well as the amount of 002 sequestration by forests From the beginning of the corn plantation to the time E BS is used in a car the ecological footprint for one car per year is 174 hectares compared to 111 hectares from using gasoline2 As is evident at this current time a realistic and viable way for each person to reduce their carbon footprint related to transportation is to walk or ride a bike on every occasion possible The second largest contributor to household 02 emissions is utilities and energy consumption This category includes turning on lights using the heater or air conditioner using the hot water heater watching TV using the computer and many other day to day activities in the home Heating and hot water alone can account for up to 60 of a building s total energy costs1Tn 2004 the statistics report that utilities and household energy consumption contributed approximately 1550 to 1600 million metric tons of C02 into the atmosphere per year3 The 002 emissions begin with the coal and other fossil fuels that are used to generate the electricity In 2005 North America ranked second among the continents with 248 of the total carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels which also includes oil5 The obvious simple step to reduce each person s carbon footprint would be to use less energy This is easily done by turning off the computer TV and lights when they are not in use turning down the heater temperature and turning up the air conditioning and refrigerator temperatures A more capital intensive approach to reducing a person s carbon footprint would be to use solar or wind energy to provide power for the home Any combination of alternatives previously mentioned will be sure to reduce a person s carbon footprint concerning utilities and home energy consumption Other minor contributors to household 02 emissions are education healthcare communications clothing recreation equipment and maintenance housing hotels food and other goods and services One can see how these categories relate to the transportation and utilities and energy consumption contributors For example oil is needed for the transportation of buses taking children to school ambulances and other emergency vehicles for healthcare transportation of all goods and services and vehicles for business transportation from one job site to another Also utilities and energy consumption is needed to keep the above institutions in working order to make the goods and services people desire In 2004 the combined C02 emissions for these categories was roughly 3495 to 4525 million metric tons per year3 The carbon dioxide emissions from most of the categories mentioned are indirectly caused by consumers through the purchase of the institution s goods and services There are many ways each person can reduce his or her carbon footprint in each of these categories for example by reducing unnecessary purchases for goods and services including clothes producing a portion of his or her own food or buying it locally and taking vacations closer to home These are just a few examples but the possibilities to limit each household s carbon footprint in these categories can be infinite by using a little imagination As is evident the human population s carbon footprint can have a major impact on the stability of the environment The use of fossil fuels for transportation and energy is clearly the largest contributor A viable environmentally friendly solution to replace the use of fossil fuels is essential More research for the solution is ongoing because the current alternative of ethanol may reduce carbon dioxide emissions but it is not reducing the overall impact on the environment Each of the other categories has only a minor individual impact however when combined their C02 emissions result in more than that of transportation and energy Everyone is responsible for his or her personal carbon footprint There are many simple steps mentioned above that can be taken to reduce one s impact and will also result in an eventual cost savings to consumers Other alternatives may be more costly or take a major adjustment in one s lifestyle however actions need to be taken for the future of the environment Ln References Beechinor Frank reduce your carbon footprint People Management serial online August 2007 l3l746 47 Available from MasterEILE Premier Ipswich MA Accessed March 11 2008 De Oliveira MED Vaughan BE Energy carbon dioxide balances serial online July 2005 Ipswich MA Accessed March 11 Rykiel EJ Jr Ethanol as fuel and ecological footprint BioScience 557593 602 Available from Agricola 2008 Weber CL Matthew HS Quantifying the global and distributional aspects of American household carbon footprint Ecological Economics 2007 doilOlOl6jecolecon20070902l Wiedmann Thomas Minx Jan A Definition of Carbon Footprint ISAW Research amp Consulting Accessed March II 2008 httpwwwisa researchcoukdocsISA UK Report 07 01 carbon footprintpdf World Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the use of Fossil Fuels Wbrld Almanac amp Book of Facts 2005 serial online 2008283 283 Available from Academic Search Premier Ipswich MA Accessed March 18 2008