We hear the phrase “carbon neutral”, “carbon footprint” or “carbon emissions” used frequently when referring to a business’s environmental responsibility, or government legislation aimed at stemming the tide of global warming.

How does it affect you and what can you do to be more ‘carbon aware’?

So what’s wrong with carbon?

Carbon is a naturally occurring substance; in fact it is the 4th most common element in the universe and makes up about 20% of the human body. It appears in various forms, including within valuable minerals such as diamonds. Carbon is, in fact, essential to life, so when we talk about reducing our carbon footprint we definitely don’t mean eliminating carbon itself.

The problem relates to carbon released when fossil fuels are burned, as in the case of gas or diesel-powered engines. This releases carbon (as carbon dioxide or CO2) into the atmosphere. Normally this is not a problem, as there is naturally a percentage of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere that helps keep the planet warm. CO2 and other greenhouse gases act like a blanket over the earth, helping protect us from the extreme cold of space. The problem occurs when an excessive amount of CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere, disrupting the delicate balance of gases in the earth’s atmosphere.

Scientists estimate that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by over a third in the last 250 years, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels, a significant part of the technological and industrial revolution that has taken place over the past two centuries.

It seems like with all the cars, vans and trucks on the road, as well as all the other fossil-burning machines, we are adding too many blankets over the earth, and weather records seem to confirm this: Six of the last 10 years were the hottest on record.

Negative effects of global warming include sea levels rising and threatening low-lying areas, crop failures, the extinction of certain ecosystems such as coral reefs, and drying up of vital water resources.

What can be done to manage or reduce carbon output?

It’s easy to dismiss issues such as climate change as something for world leaders to solve, but this ignores the fact that you as an individual can make a difference. That difference is particularly significant if you are a fleet manager, and that power increases in relation to the size of your fleet.

For a moment, imagine you manage a fleet of 5,000 vehicles (maybe you actually do) — what potential to stop global warming do you have?

Fleet drivers using Telogis fleet management software experienced mileage savings that ranged from 12 — 56%. Now if the average fleet driver is driving 35,000 miles a year, even at the lower end they’ve reduced that figure by almost 3,600 miles. With the average fuel economy for light vans and trucks at around 20 MPG, this could mean a savings of more than 180 gallons of fuel. Aside from the reduced fuel costs, this means the change resulted in almost 3,800 fewer pounds of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere.

Multiply these savings across a fleet of 5,000 vehicles, and you’ve eliminated 19,000,000 pounds (or 9,500 tons) of CO2 in the atmosphere every year. This is just one fleet. based on the minimum savings enjoyed by fleet vehicles after switching to Telogis software.

It’s easy to see that fleet managers can potentially have a huge impact on reducing excessive CO2 in the atmosphere and slowing the pace of advancing climate change.

Act now to go green

It’s always tempting to ignore the need to change until it’s too late, but every day that goes by that we fail to act to reduce our negative impact on the environment increases the threat of the potentially negative consequences. Scientists add that, in the case of climate change, there can sometimes be a delayed response in nature, meaning the damage we’re doing now is like an oil tanker — it takes time to slow down and start healing the damage.

If you haven’t already, look into the positive benefits of turning your fleet on to Telogis fleet management software to efficiently manage your assets, cut costs and reduce miles driven and engine hours.

Be a part of the change for good, as Telogis helps fleets around America and all over the world drive efficiently. Every mile saved is a mile in the right direction, a mile closer to using this planet more responsibly and keeping it healthy for the next generation.