Written by Student LEAF Grant Coordinator William Woods
The alarm clock goes off and we get up. We then continue our lives under one author, ourselves. My world is written primarily by me and thus it revolves around me. It’s hard to stray away from the singular perspective especially when it comes to everyday life. So when it comes to thinking about the impact you as a particular person have on the world. It is easy to push aside the connotation that your footprint is costly to the environment at all. Well in all actuality it very much so is. This post isn’t about the details of global climate change, if you want to know about that look in your daily newspaper. This is about changing our lives for the better, because living the life of a leech isn’t a good life at all.
As a UNC community member your carbon footprint, that is the amount of impact you have on our earth via greenhouse gas emissions, is roughly around 3.5 tons of greenhouse gas emission per person, per year. That is almost 6,800 lbs. per person. The variables in this include the buildings you walk into, the car you drive, the food you eat, and of course the water you consume, not to mention a list that could go on for days. The top contributors however for our campus are our electricity use with a total of 28,300 tons of CO2 equivalent and our commuter mileage which equals up to 18,000 tons of CO2. These numbers can easily be diminished.
No we have all seen it; the pollution rising from the coal stacks, or the exhaust out of a car’s tail pipe. It seems almost lighter than air, how could anyone add up such a mass amount of something we see floating away? Well it all comes down to our daily lives. We turn the heat up in our homes burning the natural gas to do so. We have our microwave, hair dryer, computer; televisions all plugged in, and so on and so forth. These, all day-every day, or even once a day, once a week things, pile up and being the people we are, we tend to keep our minds elsewhere. We’re students, we don’t have 9-5 jobs we are studying or writing papers, Most of us have just enough time to go out once a week and socialize. So how are we supposed to fit one more thought into our overcapacity bubble? The answer is as simple as forming any habit you already have.
It doesn’t take more than five seconds to unplug your phone charger; it doesn’t take more than a second to flip the light switch off. And what does it take to turn the thermostat down and add a sweater? We all love sweaters anyways. It’s improvements that, although seem small at first, will start you on the path to obtaining less of an impact and bettering our community and our world. This is why Student L.E.A.F. is so important. We are allowing any of you students to propose change and to help you fulfill it. I’m not saying you have to join Student LEAF but you should join the population of “Giving a Shit.”
To see your carbon footprint or to know how many worlds it would take to live your lifestyle click here.