What Effect Can One Person Have to Make the World Green? *

What can One Person do to Make a Difference?


We all have to accept one basic truth.  A lot of the actions and behaviors that we take in our lives add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.  But it’s not entirely our fault.  How we live today has evolved over time, with a gradual increase in the impact each of us has on our planet.  

These actions did not happen overnight.  Most of our technologies, institutions, and way that we live and embrace today happened long before we understood what the consequences were.


Our Time to Act is Limited


However, in December 2007 we had a wake-up call which brought the condition of our environment to center stage.  That year at the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, 200 of the world’s leading climate scientists issued a major alarm about the environment.


The world's leading climate scientists issued a major alarm about the environment

These scientists declared that we have only a small window of time in which to act if we hoped to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.  They sounded the alarm to tell us how quickly we needed to act to prevent some of the drastic impacts of global warming.  

Emissions Must Decline


Scientists said that during the next 10 to 15 years, emissions needed to start declining each year rather than increase.  If we acted decisively  to stop the growth, by 2050 emissions must be half what they were in 1990.  


Scientists say that millions of people will be at risk from extreme environmental events

If we failed to accomplish this, the scientists wrote, millions of people will be at risk from extreme environmental events.  Failure to act would result in an increase of heat waves, drought, floods and storms.  The warming impact would cause ice to melt at our poles, causing rising sea levels and threatening our coasts and cities.  Our ecosystems, plants and animal species will be in serious danger of extinction.


What’s Your Carbon Footprint?


That’s a lot to absorb.   Rather than being overwhelmed, let’s establish what can be done today.  One person taking action can make a difference.  Small changes in how we live, affect not only our health and happiness but to our survival as well.

Recently I decided to examine how much I was contributing to global warming.  To do this I had to calculate my carbon footprint.  Often, the measure of our impact is called a carbon footprint because carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas.


I Assumed I Was Green


Considering that I live in an eco-friendly and energy efficient home, recycle, work from my home, and rarely drive.  I assumed my impact on the environment would be relatively low.  

However, because I fly frequently, my carbon footprint is higher than I thought it would be.  Doing this simple exercise quickly showed me changes I could make to lower my carbon footprint and inspired me to do more.


Understand Your Impact


Now it’s your turn.  As you begin your journey to going green, turn the page and begin a new “green” lifestyle.  Embrace all green practices and principles that will make you environmental impact small.  Let’s all try to make our footprints GREEN.



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