Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that is used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product or service, taking into account the entire life cycle and it consists of four stages:
- The first phase defines the objective of the evaluation, which parts of the product life cycle to analyze and the specific times and criteria.
- The inventory analysis examines the product, knowledge, demand, and describes energy flows within the product system and its interaction with the environment.
- The details gathered by the inventory analysis serve for impact assessment. All the potential environmental issues are detailed during this phase.
- The last stage is focused on the critical review of the life cycle, and the results are presented.
Environmental LCA or E-LCA is an initiative promoted by the UN environment, which aims at evaluating the environmental impact throughout the life cycle of a product or service. The categories include, but are not limited to climate change and human and eco-toxicity.
This initiative can help us to have a better understanding of the link between a product’s environmental impact and the damage this can cause to human health, resource depletion, and ecosystem quality. The results of the assessment are of critical importance to decision makers.
Environmental impact of a common product:
One of our users shared his experience assessing the impact of organic strawberries from a well-known brand, and he realized that these small fruits come to our table at a great cause for the environment.
- Soil erosion
- High water consumption
- Long distance transportation
- Cheap farm labor
- Poor work-life conditions
- Use of certain pesticides
These are just some of the negative effects that the life cycle of products can cause. If you think that something so small like a strawberry can have such a big impact on the environment, consider for a second YOUR environmental impact. If you are curious to know how you can live a more sustainable life, there are methods that you can use to identify how your everyday choices contribute to carbon emissions and global warming.
Methods to evaluate your environmental impact:
The Water Footprint Calculator, by National Geographic, shows you how to reduce your water footprint, taking into account your water use. Consider that only a tiny percent of the water you consume runs through sink and toilets—most of your water consumption comes from the food you eat, the energy you use, and products and services you use.
The Food Carbon Footprint Calculator is a calculator that focuses on your eating habits, keeping into consideration what, where, and how you buy your food. This tool can help you understand every choice you make has an impact on your carbon footprint, and it suggests ways to reduce your carbon footprint
The Energy Footprint Calculator, by National Geographic, asks about your energy use and compares your energy consumption to regional and national averages. This tool also features an “energy diet,” which suggests a monthly task for an entire year to help you reduce your energy footprint.
The Overall Footprint Calculator, by the World Wildlife Fund, has four categories: food, travel, home, and stuff. This tool shows you a rough estimate of your overall carbon footprint and can help you realize that reducing your overall footprint is possible and you can make changes in almost every aspect of your life.
We, at awarenow, believe that small actions count, and each one of us can contribute to making the world a better place, taking care of the environment, and fostering a sense of community. Our overall footprint does not just have consequences on the environment—the negative effects come back to us because everything is connected. The toxins that enter our bodies can cause chronic disease and reduce our quality of life.
Katrine Volynsky is specialized in chronic disease prevention. She is a Chernobyl survivor, so she has a deep understanding of what it means living the negative consequences of human destructive actions. If you are concerned about the presence of toxins in your body, she can help you address physiological imbalances, optimizing genetics and lifestyle.