Reduce, reuse, recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Nature Watch

Reduce, reuse, recycle

So what exactly is it? Well, Carbon Footprint is the measure of the greenhouse gases we emit. This is a subset under Ecological Footprint, which is the pressure we as the human species put on our eco-system.

There are many calculators available on the Internet like the one at that will allow you to calculate your footprint. While these calculators are not India specific, they give you a general idea. Like Avijit Michael, a Greenpeace activist, told us, “An online calculator is not the most scientific thing, but gives an individual a broad idea of how their personal actions add up to the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere. Based on this, a person can take personal action to reduce their footprint.”

There are of course those who argue that calculating personal footprint is an unimportant activity. Vinod Eshwer, who works in the communications industry and is an environmentalist, says, “Calculating Carbon Fooprint is a lot like calculating your calorie intake. How does it matter if my lifestyle contributes four tones or 4.098765 tones of carbon? What matters is that we accept that our lifestyle is polluting nature and we do something to offset all that carbon that we've injected into the atmosphere.”

What is interesting though, is that irrespective of which side of the ‘Footprint Counting’ debate people were, most Bangaloreans Metrolife spoke to seemed most conscious of the need to actively participate and change lifestyle. Some even had interesting ways of reducing their individual footprint.

Carpooling is a popular one of course. Check in at to find your carpool buddies. Aditi Wanchoo informs us that she likes to keep her refrigerator stocked because lesser energy is needed to cool a full refrigerator. Eshwer, supports going vegetarian. “Factory farmed meat,” he says, “is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases. He also volunteers with an organisation called ‘Trees for Free’ (, who will plant trees and maintain them on your behalf. Pay them Rs 100 a month and they’ll plant a tree for you. This helps offset the carbon you’ve created. Offsetting of carbon is a difficult subject. While some feel that without personal offsets, calculating individual footprint is completely useless. Pramit Kumar, a BD consultant, says “Offsets are important. Our lifestyle would not permit us to be completely carbon-neutral unless we offset even as we reduce our emissions. It’s not realistic to assume only reduction would be enough”.  Others feel offsets are lame excuses. A Michael says, “To give you an analogy of why offsetting doesn't make too much sense — if I'm in a relationship and I am not faithful to my partner, can I pay someone who doesn't cheat on their partner to offset my guilt? The answer is reduction.”

‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’. The words swirl as the temperatures steadily raise and as Ridhi d’Cruz, an activist points out, “I think that if you want to see change, you have to ‘be the change’”. Whatever your method, all you have to do is participate.

Dos and don’ts

*Buy in bulk and don’t buy products with too much packaging.
*Hang out the washing to dry rather than tumble drying it

*Buy local. The supermarkets have their produce transported from far. 

*Buy music online, not only will this cut down on the fuel used to transport the CDs, it will also reduce electronic wastes.

*Smoking, believe it or not, contributes to global warming. Think before lighting up your next stick.

*Try local buses. These really are great.