The Impact of our Footprint

The birth of humanity has brought about changes unmatched by any other force. We have introduced exquisite cultures and unseen art forms; created harmonies and expressed emotions. It cannot be denied that we are truly agents of progress. Unfortunately, in our pursuit of advancement, we have also become agents of destruction. 

 

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The yields of our progress have taken an unforeseen toll on our planet. As each decade passes, the years of emissions succeeding the Industrial Revolution continue to add up. To date, it has been almost 230 years since the spark of this revolution, a period that would become one of the most significant in human history. Yes, this time was marked by innovation and a production efficiency never before seen. However, it is clear in hindsight that the most impactful by-product of this revolution was not the assembly line, but a severely altered climate.

 

While many climatologists’ studies support this phenomenon of climate change, a number of people continue to deny its existence. Many are enticed to prioritize large profits over the importance of environmental wellbeing. The temptation of financial benefit and ease of personal convenience seems to consistently overshadow any preservation efforts; and unfortunately for our future generations, it is ingrained in human nature to focus on the here and now. 

 

Scientific data projections reveal that if we continue on this path of relative inaction, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is expected to double by the turn of the century, and the estimated temperature rise by 2100 will equate to roughly 4.5°C. What does this mean? Essentially, the climate of Earth as we know it will begin to resemble that of fiery Hell.  However, this will not come without warning. In fact, if we all took a moment to look beyond our own mundanities, maybe our eyes would finally open to the reality of the situation: a planet morphing by our hands, before our very eyes.

 

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My goal in writing this is not to encourage pessimist or alarmist thinking, the action of which would only discourage hope and progress. For that reason, I compiled a very short list of easy changes we can each make in our daily lives; changes that would contribute to the betterment and preservation of our planet. 

 

  1. Walk whenever possible. Motor vehicles and public transportation are both very time-efficient ways to get around. However, they are very inefficient when it comes to fuel requirements and carbon emissions. According to the EPA, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. In other words, a LOT of carbon. So whenever you can, try to walk the extra few blocks. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the planet. 

  2. Take shorter showers. I personally am guilty when it comes to this one. I tend to take long showers more frequently than I should. Long, hot showers can increase your overall water consumption by hundreds of gallons. An average shower uses about five gallons of water per minute - not to mention the energy required to heat the water! Don’t feel that you necessarily have to have to skip a shower, but I think we should all do a better job at limiting the duration of each shower on a daily basis, for the sake of energy consumption.

  3. Refuse disposables. In a developed country these days, it’s very difficult to look around you and not see at least 10 items made completely of plastic. It surrounds us; it’s in our landfills, in our oceans, in our food. With that being said, it’s so important to make purchases from companies with sustainable missions. To make a habit out of carrying your own reusable cups, straws, utensils. To utilize canvas bags at grocery and retail stores. All of these actions and so many more can help you to reduce your personal footprint on the planet.

 

Awareness is a powerful thing, and my goal is always to provide others with a bit of enlightenment so that they can go on to educate those in their circle. Hopefully, you feel that you learned something. Hopefully you feel inspired to make a change in your life, no matter how insignificant it may feel. The smallest step in the right direction wields the power to change the narrative. What you do with this knowledge is entirely up to you, just remember; wherever you go, you are always leaving a footprint.