January 9, 2017
Individuals and corporations around the world are both trying to mitigate their carbon footprint as much as possible. From switching out incandescent bulbs for LED lights to the design and construction of buildings on a larger scale, people are working on it as best they can. And as the old saying goes, “every little bit helps.”
The time period from the mid-18th century through the mid-19th century is commonly referred to as The Industrial Revolution. Society saw a shift towards the mass production of many products throughout Europe and America. The various processes used to facilitate this revolution created by-products like air pollutants and toxic chemicals. As knowledge increased about the potential consequences of these adjunct issues, society struggled to find ways to diminish their impact. Some recent examples include:
Reduced Energy Consumption
Items like the aforementioned LED light bulbs have contributed to a lowered consumption of electricity for the same end result, lighting one’s home or office. Less demand means power plants produce less waste. Hybrid cars and improved gas mileage in engines are other examples of how air emissions have been reduced.
While innovation is often associated with fancy new softwares and burgeoning new technologies, small changes in every day life can do a lot more for the environment than you might think. Take, for example, water bottles. The manufacturers have found ways to reclaim the raw materials used and have developed methodologies to reduce the amount of plastic used in each unit produced. While it might not seem like a lot, the amount of plastic used in these products is far more than you can wrap your head around.
Back in the 1970s, the world faced what we now refer to as “The Energy Crisis.” America received a rude awakening to find hundreds of cars in line at gas stations around the country, their owners waiting for hours just to put some fuel in the car’s tank. Jump forward a decade or so, and America was told our landfill space was close to running out. Since those times, consumers have been made aware of the need to “reduce, reuse, recycle” and to conserve our resources, and brands have begun taking this notable warning to heart.
Building Design, and Construction
New buildings are being designed and constructed with the carbon footprint in mind. Rooftop green spaces are now being incorporated into the buildings, particularly in urbanized areas. These can reduce energy costs by absorbing some of the sun’s energy, providing recreational areas and even growing fruits and vegetables.
We are also seeing advances in the use of solar panels to corporate buildings around the world. The first incarnations of the technology to turn windows into solar energy collection cells are already here. It sounds like something out of Star Trek, but perhaps space isn’t the only frontier that needs exploring.
While the debate rages about how much, or how little, mankind has impacted our environment, it seems clear that some damage has been done. How much damage is a question that can only be answered over time. But the more we can decrease our carbon footprint, the better off we’ll be. This is, after all, the only world we have to call home.
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