Many of the worlds top scientists have concluded that the increasing amount of carbon dioxide on our planet is causing our climate change. The rising levels of carbon in the earths atmosphere have created a greenhouse effect which is warming the earth. Should the earths temperature continue to increase, it could be devastating for mankind and all other species.
Carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect are man made issues. Carbon is produced when coal, gas, oil is burned. Simply going about many of our every day life tasks we use these fossil fuels. Whether we’re boiling a pot of water to cooking dinner, or driving to work, we produce carbon dioxide.
Although no one can predict precisely how much time we may have to try to turn this around or what the true impact will be. Evidence of global warming is now happening. The ice caps are melting. Around the world reports of flooding capture headlines. Many species are becoming extinct due to their natural habitat being destroyed by man’s activities.
By becoming aware of our choices and reducing our carbon footprint, we can, if not reverse the greenhouse effect, at least stop the temperature from rising further. If everyone made small changes they could have a positive impact on our ecosystems.
So what does carbon have to do with Thanksgiving? Driving to Grandmas. Our vehicles are a large producer of carbon dioxide. While many of us determine the best route to run errands on a daily or weekly basis so that we don’t have to waste time and energy backtracking, the same theory can be put in to place for our holiday travel.
In my situation, most of my family comes to my home. In the past, my sister, my mother and my fiancés parents and his bother would each drive a vehicle to my home for Thanksgiving dinner. However, in the last few years, instead of each person driving their own car, they carpool. My sister will pick up my mother along the way and my future brother-in-law picks up his parents. Not only is it a bit of a bonding time for everyone, but it is a small step to reducing our carbon footprint.
There are many websites available to estimate how much carbon your car creates per mile. Terrapass is one such website. You can calculate a yearly amount of carbon produced in pounds dependent on the year, make and model of your vehicle and the number of miles driven. Using this calculator I found that by carpooling the 520 miles round-trip for the Thanksgiving trip, my future in laws will reduce the amount of carbon they produce by 510 pounds.
My sister and mother live much closer, just 30 miles round-trip, so their savings isn’t as great, and my sister’s vehicle isn’t as environmentally friendly. While my future brother-in-laws car creates just under 1 pound of carbon per mile, my sisters older and larger vehicle generates 1.15 pounds per mile. By carpooling with my mother, their total savings is 34.5 pounds. Combined, our family is reducing our Thanksgiving carbon footprint by approximately 544.5 pounds.
If every family could carpool, even for just this one holiday, the reduction in carbon production across the state, nation or world could be significant. I’m a firm believer that simple, smaller steps are more achievable in the grand scheme of things and they are what can help us all live on a greener, more sustainable planet.