Carbon Footprint, What You Can do to Reduce Yours
Last week, I planted a number of trees equal to my age. I developed this idea after seeing a group of young people planting trees as part of their three-day social occasion to make it a carbon-neutral event. I was absolutely challenged. Although I knew I could not entirely eliminate my individual Carbon footprint only with my less than thirty trees, I considered it to be a good starting point.
The ban on tree logging in Kenya is still in effect after being in place for more than a year. Deforestation in Kenya alone causes an estimated 20% of Carbon emission compared to the 10% from planes and cars. The rate of deforestation is currently happening faster than the rate of afforestation and reforestation; this is a misfortune because it is trees that guarantee environmental sustainability and Carbon elimination.
Trees are extremely vital for human life especially in the reduction of your Carbon footprint. In Japan, spending mindful time in the forest is known as forest bathing; it is a form of medical therapy. Naturally, a tree absorbs Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from the ambient air to generate its food. Take a thought of the consequences of bringing down a forest that is responsible for the sequestration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases…
The air we breathe in would only be pure and crisp and the effects of climate change would be less if we had more trees. Without them, CO2 remains in the atmosphere and traps the outgoing heat radiated on the surface of the earth. The CO2 then reradiates back to the earth causing the greenhouse effect which is now commonly known as global warming. Global warming is solely responsible for the unusual sweltering summer currently being experienced in France. It has also instigated the historic wildfires being experienced in California.
Agroforestry as a way of reducing Carbon footprint
In Kenya, one of the ways of subsidising of one’s Carbon footprint and the repercussions of climate change is through agroforestry. With the burgeoning population, global warming and the need to ensure food security, farmers are now looking into sustainable agriculture. Trees have the capacity to create a favourable microclimate that is beneficial to the crops. This is a win-win situation because increased Carbon is also absorbed from the environment.
Related article: Trees Are Capable of Taking in Heavy Metals
Planting trees alongside crops further prevents soil erosion through wind and runoff water. The soil is thus able to retain more moisture, organic matter and nutrients. In addition, trees can be employed to reclaim degraded land or to check the development of toxicities in soil. As a result, trees on the farm end up not only mitigating climate change but also ensuring a higher yield for the farmer.
Despite the collective efforts being put on tree planting, climate change is still an existential global crisis. Although planting of trees is the most effective method of combating this climate change, there are other avenues to reducing one’s Carbon footprint. The first step is to be aware of your Carbon footprint. Everyday activities that promote your carbon-footprint can be minimized such as driving less, eating less meat, printing only when necessary, unplugging devices when not in use and even choosing to line dry your laundry.
Active millennials globally have led causes fighting against climate change through marches and demonstrations. This has subsequently seen the British and Scottish governments recently declare climate change as a state of emergency promising immediate parliamentary action to reduce emissions. Alluding to the words of former US president Barack Obama, ‘this is the first generation that can feel the impact of climate change and the last that can do something about it.’ Therefore, go on and do your little big thing in reducing your Carbon footprint.
By Mwende Mwololo