Replacing Carbon Footprint for Health

Figuring out the carbon footprint we leave with our homes, schools, municipal buildings, ski areas, shopping malls, travel vehicles, road maintenance, and more becomes overwhelming in that there seems to be no end to what we ask Earth to contend with and make OK. Do we really have to look at our footprint?

Only if we want to continue to breathe freely, continue to raise our children and access safe food and water. Most of us luxuriate in this beautiful north country where just a drive to the post office bathes us in scenic splendor. It is hard to recognize that continuing this luxury depends on whether we wake up, do our part, and give back to the Earth the means to continue to provide us with enough oxygen.

The term “carbon footprint”(CF) tells us the amount of land and sea area required to sequester carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. Trees and plants help us because they need to breathe in carbon dioxide and they exhale oxygen for us. Trees are the major lungs of the earth.

To figure out our carbon footprint, just what counts? Is it just about our home energy and personal travel habits or does it include all the goods and services we purchase, the skiing, theatre performances, our shoes and clothes? Do we count the footprint of meat we buy or is that tallied by the cattle raiser? Over which carbon footprints do we have control?

On the state level, the Northern Pass wants to put in an above ground line with 35’ deep cement pilings for miles of High Voltage poles. Every ton of cement emits one ton of carbon dioxide and that doesn’t include the print left by cement mixers, blasting, jackhammers, etc. NP plans to cut 500 miles of access roads to service their power lines. That means cutting carbon-sequestering trees down. Will New Hampshire require NP to mitigate its carbon footprint and include a comprehensive plan to offset the huge carbon footprint the NP creates?

There are international companies that measure and monitor carbon footprints. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an internationally recognized company based in London that measures 4000+ international companies who voluntarily submit their environmental and emissions data. Harry Hintlian, who has a home in Woodstock, where he and his family vacation, recently received the highest environmental rankings from the CDP for his Superior Nut Company. Hintlian’s Cambridge, MA company has been offsetting its carbon footprint by planting trees in the tropics through Reforest The Tropics (RTT).

The Gloucester, MA school system is implementing the Cape Ann Green Initiative, an RTT program that teaches school children how to figure out the carbon footprint of their homes, schools, and community.
Thanks to our school systems, our children are our greatest teachers of basic technology. It is time to raise our carbon footprint consciousness by jumpstarting our schoolchildren who will surely stimulate us to protect their future by offsetting our CF.

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