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Go Green

Your Carbon Footprint

Carbon Footprint may be a term that you are familiar with, but what does it actually mean?

What is a carbon footprint?

A footprint describes the total impact that something produces, and carbon refers to all of the different greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In short, our footprint defines the total carbon emissions caused by a person, organisation, or event, for example.

What is climate change?

The planet’s climate is constantly changing, but the rate that the Earth is warming up is on the increase. We are facing a climate emergency, and must limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Many areas of the globe are already being affected, including species, polar regions, oceans, forests and freshwater.

The University is committed to reducing its environmental impact. Find out more and learn tips to reduce your own footprint with the sections below.

Travel

On average 40,000 lives are cut short each year due to air pollution from traffic emission in the UK. Air pollution is mainly caused by the staggering amount of vehicles on our roads and motorways.

As result of air pollution, air pollutants are linked to illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and cancer. In other words, for little convenience we are jeopardising our health and the health of others. A change is needed urgently and we must act in order to preserve life and deter death.

Three top tips to follow in order to help save our world and the people occupying it:

  • 1. Cycle or walk to work
  • 2. Make full use of public transport
  • 3. Car share with your friends and family. This helps save money too.

Find out how your travel effects the environment and check your carbon footprint.

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Purchasing

The amount of general waste generated by the UK could fill Britain’s largest lake, Lake Windermere, in just 8 months. That’s enough waste to fill 120 large 50m Olympic-size swimming pools.

These facts emphasise the amount of waste we generate on a daily basis. Waste needs to be disposed of accordingly with utmost respect to the environment we live in.

Three top tips to follow in order to reduce the amount of waste you generate:

  • 1. Reduce waste and reuse what you can
  • 2. Re-evaluate your shopping strategy. Save money and buy less!
  • 3. Buy used items over new

Find out how much waste you are generating and check your carbon footprint.

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Waste

We all love to shop, whether it’s in-store or online but this also has an effect on our environment, for some it’s a dirty habit indeed!

As consumers, we turn a blind eye to the environmental cost of online retail, particularly when it comes to packaging. The amount of plastic packaging that is disposed of unethically every year is enough in length to circle the earth four times over and naturally, landfill does not help the problem but delays it for future generations.

Follow these three top tips to help make a change:

  • 1. Buy less in the first place, considering where products come from and quality over quantity.
  • 2. Give anything you don’t use or no longer need to charity so it can go to another loving home and benefit a good cause.
  • 3. Mend and Upcycle – try and fix things that are broken or upcycle them into something new!

Find out what you can do to help further and check your carbon footprint.

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Energy

Did you know, an estimated 15 trillion watts of power are being used across our planet at any one time? To put that into perspective, that is the equivalent of powering 10 billion 100-watt light bulbs at the same time.

With the ever-growing world population, we can see those figures rise drastically and this will only contribute to the problem further. We need to use smart technology and adjust our day-to-day behaviours to preserve fossil fuels, switch to renewable energy sources, and contribute back to the environment.

Follow these three top tips to help minimise energy usage:

  • 1. Switch off and save money!
  • 2. Wash your clothes at 30°C and save up to 40% of energy
  • 3. When it’s cold, wear a jumper. Turning the heating thermostat down by one degree could save around £80 per year

Find out how much money (and energy) you are wasting and check your carbon footprint.

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Food

We throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food every year and more than half of it is perfectly edible. Meanwhile 1 in 7 people across the world don’t have enough to eat. How much food do you waste on a daily basis?

Certain types of food such as meat and dairy can also have more of a negative effect on the environment. Huge quantities of land, water and resources are required to raise animals instead of growing crops. Without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland could be reduced by over 75%. We need more plant based options in our food system if we are to reach our climate goals.

Follow these three top tips to help make a change to many lives:

  • 1. See meat as a treat – reduce your consumption!
  • 2. Plan your meals and use all the food you buy – eat last night’s dinner for lunch
  • 3. Think about where your food has come from and buy locally and organic where you can.

Find out how your diet has an effect on climate change and check your carbon footprint.

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Water

The average person in many African countries use less water each day than what we use to flush our toilets. Your toilet uses 8 litres of water per flush on average, whereas many people live off less than 5 litres per day.

Water is a wonderful resource, and it must be cherished. Most of Earth’s water resources are inaccessible and water in general is difficult to transport over long distances. But nonetheless our needs are growing, everything we do requires water, for drinking, washing, growing food, and even making our clothes and electronics. With the current population at 7.5 billion, the population is expected to rise to 10 billion by 2050. If we keep growing at our current rate, we can expect a major water catastrophe.

Follow these three top tips to help manage the world’s water crisis:

  • 1. Shower instead of taking a bath to save water
  • 2. Eat less meat – producing meat and dairy is incredibly water-intensive
  • 3. Hold back on buying a new smartphone - It takes 13,000 litres of water to make a new smartphone, the equivalent of 162 full bathtubs!

Find out if your water consumption is a threat and check your carbon footprint.

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