Many residents of Carbondale Illinois do not realize that their own town was built and named from the coal industry. The same coal industry that has been omitting carbon dioxide into our air for decades.
Carbon, the chemical element of atomic number 6, is a nonmetal that can be found in diamonds and graphite. Carbon also occurs in an impure form, for example, charcoal, soot, and coal.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that works to keep the suns generated heat inside the earth’s atmosphere, and our daily life produces more than what was intended, eventually the heat in our atmosphere will melt entire continents and glaciers, causing many states, islands, and entire countries to be covered in water once more.
Janet Donoghue, the Assistant Honors Director at SIU, and the host of an environmental based radio show on WDBX explains why carbon is so bad for our environment. “As I understand it, it’s because of global warming. Since the industrial revolution, we have been putting more and more carbon into the atmosphere. The less carbon we put into our atmosphere, the better chance we have at surviving global warming.”
Carbondale has been producing carbon dioxide for decades, but the coal mine isn’t the only thing that makes up Carbondale’s carbon footprint. Every time someone drives to work and back, it omits carbon into the air. So, what can the citizens of Carbondale do to help reduce our carbon footprint? “Well, I think the same thing as they do globally,” states Janet Donoghue. “Driving less, walk when you can, bike when you can, the meat industry is also responsible for a lot of carbon. Making sure lights are off, not wasting energy. One of the biggest issues with Carbondale is we don’t know how much carbon we really omit; we have never actually measured our carbon footprint even though we have the tools to do so. If you ask me, I think the first step to fixing a problem, is to find out how big the problem really is.”
So, next time you leave a room, remember to turn the lights off, and instead of using a car, think about biking instead. And when someone is taking a long shower, there’s no shame in dumping a bucket of ice over their head to get them out. As citizens of Carbondale, we need to work together to reduce our carbon footprint, it all starts with making the smallest changes in your dad to day life. Encourage a friend to do it as well. If we all come together to change it, we will see many great things in the years to come.