Carbon footprint: what is it and why should we be concerned?

GenerationS
5 min readMar 23, 2022

Our alumni Posadi Les — forest restoration service — tells about what a carbon footprint is and why we should be concerned.

Why carbon footprint is formed

Climate change has become, perhaps, the main reason that forced people to unite and seriously pay attention to the environmental situation. It is happening very intensively and affects all corners of our planet. Fires, floods, droughts, temperature fluctuations not only make you think, but also motivate you to take action, for example, to reduce your carbon footprint.

The carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced by people in the course of their activities. They accumulate in the atmosphere and increase the greenhouse effect. It is important to understand that we all influence the environment in one way or another and create greenhouse gases with our actions, thereby harming nature and ourselves.

The burning of fossil fuels is the first reason why emissions occur. Driving a car, traveling by plane, running a factory assembly line — all require burning fossil fuels. The second reason is animal husbandry and the third is the exploitation of forests, their deforestation, forest fires. These are the three main negative factors, but there are many more that cause greenhouse gas emissions.

How to reduce your carbon footprint in everyday life

Before drawing up an action plan to reduce your carbon footprint, it is important to understand the scope of the problem. In other words, to calculate how much you personally or your company harms the environment. To do this, you can use, for example, the carbon footprint calculator on posadiles.ru website.

A simple algorithm is used for the calculations, which takes into account the main factors of our impact on the climate (the main ones are listed above, but there are other factors as well). Being aware of the degree of your impact in numbers, you can draw up an action plan.

There are several simple yet effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

There are several simple yet effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

  • Buy local produce. This is important because transporting food, albeit a short distance, leaves a carbon footprint.
  • Buy only what you need. This applies to both clothes and products.
  • Buy from trusted companies that reduce their environmental and carbon footprint, ideally with eco-labels on their products
  • Switch to “conscious consumption”. Try to find a balance between your personal comfort and the good for the planet. Stop using your car by switching to public transport or cycling.

How to offset your carbon footprint

The carbon footprint cannot be fully offset so far, but this can be facilitated. Tree planting, waste sorting and other environmental initiatives will help the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many companies have already begun to change and invest in green initiatives. Some of them have started manufacturing eco-certified products and are actively promoting them.

Today, one of the most promising environmental activities is volunteering. So, for example, the Ecowiki.ru platform is available to everyone. There are about 15 activities there that you can join at any time.

Of course, the most busy period for activities is spring, summer, and autumn, when tree planting, waste collection with sorting and other campaigns and festivals take place. In winter, you can take care of animals left without care in nurseries, shelters. It should be noted that in winter, more food is needed, and care for the animals should to be more thorough due to weather conditions and cold, so volunteers collect blankets and devote a lot of time to accommodating animals.

In addition, from the end of January to the beginning of February, animals and birds living in the forest need food the most. They start coming and flying into the city. One of the most popular areas of work for volunteers who help in national parks is to build feeders for them and give meat and seeds. For example, there is Losiny Ostrov in Moscow: salt for moose and deer, carrots, apples are always welcome there, as well as active help of volunteers.

There are also projects for volunteers such as Collector, Assembly, where help is constantly required. You can also volunteer at campaigns for waste collection with sorting, for example, at Ecodvor holidays. The participation of volunteers helps properly organize the event and make it more popular.

And finally, you can engage in intellectual volunteering, for example, to educate people. There are special competitions for environmental educators, they can use ready-made environmental lessons that are posted on the Ecoclass.rf portal. Knowledge will be in demand in schools and universities — young people often join environmental initiatives now.

Can planting forests offset our carbon footprint?

Unfortunately, now the Russian forests are in such a state that the absorption capacity does not exceed the emissions that they themselves produce. Constant forest fires lead to the fact that the benefits of its absorption by trees are reduced to zero.

However, there is potential in this direction.

This year, Southern Forest Belt of Russia project was launched, it is being implemented in 14 regions of Russia — from Rostov-on-Don to Buryatia. In the post-war years protective belts were made in the USSR, which the Ministry of Agriculture withdrew from its field of activity during perestroika. To date, 80% of these territories have degraded. Today, the question of their restoration is acute. Thanks to the volunteers, the work on the restoration of protective belts along the border with Kazakhstan began this year.

Although forests grow slowly, every greening project contributes to the restoration of ecosystems and helps to reduce the carbon footprint.

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GenerationS

GenerationS is corporate innovation development platfrom and the largest corporate accelerator across Russia and CIS. Operates since 2013.