What is your carbon foot print?
A carbon footprint has historically been defined by Championne as “the total sets of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person.” However, calculating the total carbon footprint is impossible due to the large amount of data required and the fact that carbon dioxide can be produced by natural occurrences. It is for this reason that Wright, Kemp, and Williams, writing in the journal Carbon Management, have suggested a more practicable definition: “A measure of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions of a defined population, system or activity, considering all relevant sources, sinks and storage within the spatial and temporal boundary of the population, system or activity of interest. Calculated as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) using the relevant 100-year global warming potential (GWP100).” Greenhouse gases can be emitted through transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services.
For simplicity of reporting, it is often expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted. Most of the carbon footprint emissions for the average U.S. household come from “indirect” sources, i.e. fuel burned to produce goods far away from the final consumer. These are distinguished from emissions which come from burning fuel directly in one’s car or stove, commonly referred to as “direct” sources of the consumer’s carbon footprint. The concept name of the carbon footprint originates from ecological footprint,discussion, which was developed by Rees and Wackernagel in the 1990s which estimates the number of “earths” that would theoretically be required if everyone on the planet consumed resources at the same level as the person calculating their ecological footprint. However, carbon footprints are much more specific than ecological footprints since they measure direct emissions of gasses that cause climate change into the atmosphere. Measuring Carbon Footprints
An individual’s, nation’s, or organization’s carbon footprint can be measured by undertaking a GHG emissions assessment or other calculative activities denoted as carbon accounting. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it, e.g. by technological developments, better process and product management, changed Green Public or Private Procurement (GPP), carbon capture, consumption strategies, and others. Several free online carbon footprint calculators exist, with at least one supported by publicly available peer-reviewed data and calculations from the University of California, Berkeley’s CoolClimate Network research consortium. These websites ask you to answer some basic questions about your diet, transportation choices, home size, shopping and recreational activities, usage of electricity, heating, and heavy appliances such as dryers and refrigerators, and so on.
The website then estimates your carbon footprint based on your answers to these questions. The mitigation of carbon footprints through the development of alternative projects, such as solar or wind energy or reforestation, represents one way of reducing a carbon footprint and is often known as Carbon offsetting. The main influences on carbon footprints include population, economic output, and energy and carbon intensity of the economy. These factors are the main targets of individuals and businesses in order to decrease carbon footprints. Scholars suggest the most effective way to decrease a carbon footprint is to either decrease the amount of energy needed for production or to decrease the dependence on carbon emitting fuels
How has engineering changed us?
As we enter the twenty-first century, we must embark on a worldwide transition to a more holistic approach to engineering. This will require: (1) a major paradigm shift from control of nature to participation with nature; (2) an awareness of ecosystems, ecosystems services, and the preservation and restoration of natural capital; and (3) a new mindset of the mutual enhancement of nature and humans that embraces the principles of sustainable development, renewable resources management, appropriate technology. During the past several centuries, the successive development of the printing press, wired and wireless communication, and the Internet have enabled the ubiquitous creation, shaping, and sharing of knowledge.
One could argue that as a result of these developments, the capacity for universal participation in decisionmaking in politics and other spheres has risen to an unprecedented level, as has the potential for enhancing the quality of life for a broader segment of humankind. Today, a new world of robust communication lies before us, and it has all been made possible by the talents, skills, and dedicated work of engineers and scientists. How we develop and use this capacity will determine our destiny. The essence of engineering, on the other hand, is integrating all knowledge for some purpose. As society’s “master integrators,” engineers must provide leadership in the concurrent and interactive processes of innovation and wealth creation. The engineer must be able to work across many different disciplines and fields–and make the connections that will lead to deeper insights, more creative solutions, and getting things done. In a poetic sense, paraphrasing the words of Italo Calvino (1988), the engineer must be adept at correlating exactitude with chaos to bring visions into focus.
How can we create a sustainable community?
There are many definitions and there are many different ways for communities to attain a more sustainable future. The sustainability of a community depends on creating and maintaining its economic and environmental health, promoting social equity, and fostering broad-based citizen participation in planning and implementation. Communities that engage citizens and institutions to develop sustainability principles and a collective vision for the future and that apply an integrative approach to environmental, economic, and social goals are generally likely to be more successful. Job creation, energy use, housing, transportation, education and health are considered complementary parts of the whole. Since all issues are interconnected they must be addressed as a system. The process includes: • broad and diverse involvement of citizens
• the creation of a collective vision for the future
• the development of principles of sustainability
• an inventory of existing assets and resources and additional assets that would benefit the community • clear, measurable goals
• the development of community indicators to evaluate progress • open and transparent communication
• early, visible results
• celebration of success
Sustainability is a process of continuous improvement so communities constantly evolve and make changes to accomplish their goals. The initiatives and resources on this website have been selected to help you learn about ways to make your community healthier, safer, greener, more livable, and more prosperous.
How can renewable energies transform our society?
Renewable energy is important because of the benefits it provides. The key benefits are: Environmental Benefits Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies. Energy for our children’s children’s children Renewable energy will not run out. Ever. Other sources of energy are finite and will some day be depleted. Jobs and the Economy Most renewable energy investments are spent on materials and workmanship to build and maintain the facilities, rather than on costly energy imports.
Renewable energy investments are usually spent within the United States, frequently in the same state, and often in the same town. This means your energy dollars stay home to create jobs and fuel local economies, rather than going overseas. Meanwhile, renewable energy technologies developed and built in the United States are being sold overseas, providing a boost to the U.S. trade deficit. Energy Security
After the oil supply disruptions of the early 1970s, our nation has increased its dependence on foreign oil supplies instead of decreasing it. This increased dependence impacts more than just our national energy policy.
Is it important to create micro energy system or macro system? An energy system may be thought of as an interrelated network of energy sources and stores of energy, connected by transmission and distribution of that energy to where it is needed. The transformation from stores of energy in food to work, and subsequent dissipation of energy is an example of such a system. The starting point of all energy in this “food chain” or “energy chain” (considering only the vegetable and cereal part of our food) is the sun.
Courtney from Study Moose
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