We at ActNeutral are looking to make it simple, affordable and rewarding for our subscribers to go carbon neutral, but what does that really mean? What produces carbon in our environment, and what impact can we have by being carbon neutral?
What are Fossil Fuels?
Fossil fuels are formed from the remains of plants and animals from many many years ago (at least 10,000 years) that remained buried and were fossilized over time. Some examples of fossil fuels include crude oil, coal, and natural gases. These fossil fuels are utilized to fuel our cars and airplanes, produce electricity for our homes, and heat our homes. According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, these forms of fossil fuels account for approximately 80% of the energy consumption in the U.S in 2019.
Due to the way fossil fuels are formed, they have a high carbon content that is emitted into the global atmosphere when used. Ok, so is that significant? The National Resource Defense Council has identified some disadvantages that have been associated with fossil fuels include land degradation, water pollution, and emissions. What does it mean to emit carbon, or greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere?
What are Greenhouse Gases?
Greenhouse gases are gases in Mother Earth’s atmosphere that create an invisible blanket by trapping heat within the atmosphere. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018 there were 6,677,000,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted into the atmosphere. Of these emissions, Carbon Dioxide represented 81%, Methane reflected 10%, Nitrous Oxide emitted 7% and the remainder was Fluorinated Gases.
These Greenhouse Gases do not have borders as these gases stay in the atmosphere long enough to become well mixed, indicating the amount measured will be approximately the same all over the world, regardless of where the gas was emitted from. In other words, the reduction of greenhouse gases should be a global focus that all of us work together to achieve. How can you help?
Can you make a difference by going Carbon Neutral?
By going carbon neutral, you are effectively emitting net zero greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. You do this by balancing the amount of greenhouse gases you emit with how much you absorb from the atmosphere. We have already discussed some of the ways we emit greenhouse gases, but how can we absorb greenhouse gases? There are natural ways that greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are removed from the environment, including photosynthesis, but other ways to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is with carbon sequestration projects, which are supported by carbon offsets. There are a number of different carbon sequestration projects, but they can be bucketed into two main categories: i) capture and storage at the source of emission and ii) enhancing natural processes of carbon removal (i.e. planting more trees)
If we all make the decision to go Carbon Neutral together, we will have a tremendous impact in reduce the total amount of measured greenhouse gases that is trapping heat within the atmosphere and arguably continue to preserve Mother Earth’s environment.Whether you decide to reduce your carbon footprint by changing certain aspects of your lifestyle or going carbon neutral through the help of carbon sequestration projects, if we all do this together we will have a tremendous impact in reducing the total amount of measured gas that is trapping heat within the atmosphere.
How can you go Carbon Neutral?
There are a number of ways to become carbon neutral with some being more difficult than others. It may be surprising, but almost all aspects of our lives emit greenhouse gases. One way to become carbon neutral is to make greener choices within each aspect of your lifestyle. Another way to become carbon neutral is to participate in a carbon neutral program, like ActNeutral to offset or balance your carbon footprint. We find that a balance between the two alternatives generally works best.
To help make greener choices, ActNeutral has posted a Clean Living Series, among other posts, that provide great suggestions to reduce your carbon footprint and start moving toward a carbon neutral lifestyle. However, we acknowledge that it is exceedingly difficult to go completely carbon neutral with the demands of your everyday life, and that is why we created the ActNeutral platform that allows you to offset the rest of your home’s carbon footprint in a simple, affordable and rewarding way.