I think everyone in the world has probably heard the term “carbon footprint.” But how many people out there really know what that means. Rather than diving into a lengthy verbose explanation, I found that reading simple definitions of a few key terms really cleared things up for me.

carbon footprint

Photo Credit: Stock Monkeys

What is a carbon footprint?

Carbon Footprint: The total amount of greenhouse gases produced directly and indirectly to support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Okay, so what is a greenhouse gas?

Greenhouse Gases: Any of various atmospheric gases that absorb infrared radiation, trap heat in the atmosphere, and contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Great. Gases. What gases?

Various atmospheric gases: Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2), and water vapor.

These create an effect? A “greenhouse effect?”

Greenhouse Effect: The phenomenon whereby the earth’s atmosphere traps solar radiation, caused by the presence in the atmosphere of gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane that allow incoming sunlight to pass through but absorb heat radiated back from the earth’s surface.

What does this do?

Climate Change: Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among others, that occur over several decades or longer.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what a carbon footprint is, calculate YOUR Carbon Footprint at Nature.org to see how you stack up with the rest of the world.

It’s a cold hard truth, ain’t it?

carbon footprint

Photo Credit: Net Efekt

As Americans, we have some pretty big feet.

So what do we do about it? Join us in living a more Eco Friendly lifestyle so we can minimize our carbon footprint and stop contributing to the devastated effects of climate change. Honestly, I was shocked with my carbon number. 2014 will be better!

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