• reducing carbon footprint


    By the end of this century, melting glaciers will cause a 7 to 23-inch  increase in sea levels, inundating several populated regions. 15 to 37% of plant and animal species will be lost. Add this number to a million species already extinct. Temperatures too are set to rise by 5.8 degrees celsius in the new millennium. Whew! Seems right out of a doomsday movie, doesn't it?

    In layman's terms, carbon dioxide released into the environment by individuals, households and industry collectively - is referred to as the carbon footprint. As the carbon residue increases, the Earth's surface steadily gets hotter and it's ability to cool itself is adversely affected. This phenomenon is called global warming. The good news, however, is that we can reverse, or at least slow down the damage by making some changes to our lives. Without delay, we need to turn up the heat on the drive to cool our "hot" planet!


    Plant more trees


    An estimated 18 million acres of life-sustaining forest cover is lost every year, wiping out flora and wildlife. An average size tree produces enough oxygen in a year to provide for a family of four. Besides providing a natural habitat for several endangered species, trees by virtue of their cooling effect, can help reduce air-conditioning costs in homes and offices. They also act as natural air purifiers by absorbing excess levels of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Our forests serve as the planet's lungs and are currently gasping for a new lease of life.

    There's no better time than now, to plant a friend for life.

    Conserve Energy


    Every time you flick on a gadget, you're heating up the planet. We may not give it conscious thought, but our addiction to gizmos is leading to an alarming increase in greenhouse gases. It's estimated that emissions from the entertainment, media and the telecommunications sector, are almost equal to those produced by the airline industry! Here are a few simple things that we can do to boost our planet's health:

    1. Switching to CFL/LED bulbs helps reduce  electricity bill and CO2 emissions.
    2. Powering off electronic devices when not in use improves their efficiency.
    3. Laptops are 80% more efficient than desktops.
    4. Use the "energy saving" mode on appliances like a heater or an air- conditioner.
    5. Turn off lights and fans as you leave the room.
    6. Employ renewable energy sources to electrify homes and offices.

    In August this year, the Cochin International Airport became the first totally solar powered airport in the world. The solar plant generates 60,000 units of electricity per day, which is more than adequate to meet the airport's needs. Hopefully, this initiative will "light" the way for others to follow suit.

    Public transportation and carpooling

    cycling to work or public transport


    Carbon pumping out of automobiles is clogging not just the atmosphere, but our lungs as well. The poisonous fumes are driving temperatures up a few notch too. Walking, cycling, using the public transport or a carpool to work will over a period of time help to improve the quality of the air we breathe. This is what some cities around the world are doing to safeguard the environment:

    1. London imposes a congestion charge during peak hours on private vehicles.
    2. Mayors of Spain's three biggest cities have set an example for residents by cycling to work every day.
    3. Paris cleared its central district of all cars for a day, paving way for pedestrians,   skateboarders and joggers to enjoy the clear blue skies and clean air.
    4. Gurgaon has also joined the bandwagon by declaring a day per week, car-free.


    Conserve water


    Life cannot survive or thrive without water. Soaring temperatures and changing weather patterns are drying up Earth's water resources, resulting in drought-like conditions in many parts of the world. Here's what communities can do to help:

    1. Install rainwater harvesting systems to store and collect water.
    2. Leaking  taps or pipes should be promptly attended to. A slow drip can wash away as much as 17 litres of water in a day!
    3. Something as simple as turning off the tap while brushing teeth can save gallons of  water.
    4. Run the washing machine/dishwasher only when full.
    5. Opt for a bucket bath instead of a shower.
    6. Use water left over from washing vegetables for cleaning or watering plants.


    Access to water is a privilege; it's judicious use, therefore, is our responsibility.

    Reuse and recycle


    Here's an interesting fact: It costs less energy to produce goods from recyclable material, than by using virgin raw material. That's something to think about before randomly discarding waste. Here are a few measures that can ease the pressure from our natural resources, thereby reducing toxins in the environment:

    1. Neighbourhoods  should have earmarked bins to dispose off plastic, kitchen waste, glass and metal. A plastic bag can take up to 500 years to decompose, and should be at a recycling plant, not a landfill.
    2. Commit to using only recycled paper. It can help stall rampant deforestation.
    3. Hazardous e-waste ( e.g. cell phones ) must be disposed at a safe site so that reusable components can be extracted.


    World leaders will gather in Paris this December, for a UN-led conference on climate change.They will be required to submit definite targets for curbing carbon emissions. It's time now for us to put our best foot forward, in the march to reduce the carbon footprint we've generated. Animals are particularly vulnerable and need our support coupled with concerted effort. Earth after all was not created to sustain just human life. In the interest of all life, we must learn to tread the Earth's surface lightly and treat its resources with respect.

    We thought we'd close with a few very simple things each one of us can easily build a habit for:

    1. Close taps when not in use.
    2. Use the energy-saving mode on your laptop to save electricity.
    3. Keep a paper/cloth bag handy when you go to the market. Avoid using plastic bags as much as possible.
    4. Plant a sapling in your backyard or balcony.
    5. Install CFL/LED bulbs in your house.


    We think these are some measures that we can easily implement in our lives in an effort to do our bit for the planet. If you have any ideas about some easy-to-implement tips on reducing your carbon footprint, do tell us about it in the comment box below. :)

    Much Love,

    Team Athlos



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