What is a ‘carbon sink’?

Carbon is present everywhere on earth – it’s an essential element for the survival of plants and animals, surface and marine, and the human race. It plays a major part in regulating our climate: determining temperature, and the rivers, oceans and even rain’s acidity. It’s in the food we eat and the air we breathe.

This element functions in our environment in a system called the carbon cycle. Essentially like the water cycle, there are inputs, outputs, ebbs and flows and carbon stores (like fossil fuels) accumulate and are depleted.

Now the carbon cycle is a bit of a complex term to break down – so let’s zero in on one term related to it for now.

What is meant specifically by the term carbon sink? Let’s find out.

Let’s define it together

The Oxford dictionary defines it as “a forest, ocean, or other natural environment viewed in terms of its ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

carbon footprint 1

There are three main types of carbon sinks:

  • Forests – Earth’s forests absorb 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 annually. Despite this, an area the size of a football pitch is destroyed every second.
  • Soil – Earth’s soil absorbs roughly one quarter of all emissions from human activities each year. A large portion of this is stored in peatland or permafrost, which is under threat from increasing global demand for food production, chemical pollution and climate change.
  • Oceans – Earth’s oceans have sucked up about a quarter of the CO2 released into the atmosphere since humans began burning fossil fuels for energy during the Industrial Revolution. Phytoplankton in particular are the main reason the ocean is one of the biggest carbon sinks.

These carbon sinks must be protected

With great swathes of forest being destroyed, and oceans being pumped full of plastic, fuel, toxins and more, reducing our waste and unsustainable way of life is more important than ever. We must look after these carbon sinks, so that we can have hopes of preventing irreparable damage to our one-of-a-kind planet.

Reducing our carbon footprints where it matters is also important to help maintain balance in ecosystems across the world and not add to the problem we face. At SaveMoneyCutCarbon, we try to empower our customers to take meaningful steps towards leading more sustainable lives.

Take action now and reduce your carbon footprint with our wide range of sustainable products.

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