When people burn fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline, oil and natural gas, there is an increased level of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, which is a major contributor to global warming and greenhouse effect. The emissions basically trap heat close to the surface of the earth. If people are to reduce the greenhouse effect, then they have to reduce the demand for fossil fuels.
Moreover, because of the greenhouse effect, there is a rapid increase in the earth’s temperature leading to high sea levels and extreme storms together with other climatic problems. If people work together to address this problem, then we can help fight global warming and reduce our carbon footprint.
“The green-house gas emission caused by us is the main ingredient in the poisonous cocktail of global warming which will eventually destroy your children.”
~ Abhijit Naskar
25 Easy and Wonderful Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
1. First thing you must do is Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
Before setting goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the first thing you should do is to calculate your current carbon footprint.
The EPA provides a free carbon footprint calculator to help you estimate your annual greenhouse gas emissions. Unless you understand where your emissions come from, you cannot take effective steps to reduce your impact.
2. People, especially those who can afford it can use hybrid cars
Hybrid technology works in such a way that it allows the cars to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Hybrid cars use more electricity than gasoline, thus help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
3. Eat low on the food chain
When it comes to food habits, people should not consume meat daily as it leads to a higher carbon footprint. The whole process of getting meat down from the pasture to the table for consumption requires a lot of fuel together with energy.
Energy is used for raising the animals, processing the meat and, most of all, keeping it from spoiling. If one learns how to diet or take meat in reduced amounts, then they can reduce their carbon footprints. Every day that you forgo meat and dairy can reduce your carbon footprint by 8 pounds means 2,920 pounds a year.
Besides, growing veggies requires very little energy as compared to that of meat. Hence, changing our lifestyles i.e., eating mostly fruits, veggies, grains, and beans, is just the right step towards reducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Livestock meat and dairy are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-made global greenhouse gas emissions from feed production and processing and the methane (25 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over 100 years) that beef and sheep belch out.
4. Use air conditioning and heatless
Keep the temperatures at moderate rates all the time. Additionally, when one is away during the day or in the night while they are sleeping, they can turn down the heat.
A programmable thermostat can be installed because having to set it 2 degrees lower during winter and even higher in summer could save around 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide gas annually. Opt for fans instead of air conditioning, which require less electricity.
One can also add insulation to their walls together with windows because they help lower the amount of heating, which costs more than 25% the amount of energy which is needed to heat and even cool the home.
5. Reduce, recycle and reuse
When people recycle close to half of their household waste, they can save around 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Instead of throwing excess waste into the atmosphere, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide, one can instead buy products with minimal packaging. Reducing waste also involves purchasing reusable products rather than disposable ones like getting a reusable water bottle.
Most importantly, people have to figure out the size of their carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon they are releasing to the atmosphere through their activities. Additionally, they can determine the appliances which are producing a high amount of energy and work on eliminating them.
6. Buy energy-efficient products
When purchasing home appliances, it is essential that one looks at the energy-efficiency models. These home appliances come in various ranges of energy-efficient models; thus, there is a need to determine those that will ensure reduced emission of energy and greenhouse gases in return.
Additionally, compact fluorescent bulbs that are designed to provide a more natural-looking light can be used instead of the standard light bulbs because they use far less energy.
7. Drive smart and less
If people are to drive less, it only means fewer carbon dioxide emissions because people will save on gasoline. Besides, if we drive less and bike or walk, it means that they take up more exercise. Furthermore, when driving, one has to make sure that their car is running efficiently.
8. Take care of your car
It involves keeping the tires of a vehicle properly inflated so that it reduces gas mileage for over 3%, and ensuring that your car is properly maintained can increase it by 4%. A person has to keep their car in good condition if they are to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
A person also saves on costs for every gallon of gas that they save on. Similarly, it helps keep around 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of this atmosphere, thus reducing the number of greenhouse gases.
Undoubtedly, car-related emissions are the major cause of global warming. Manufacturing these cars, production of fuel together with making the roads is a major source of the gases which are harmful to the environment.
9. Avoid air travel as much as possible
Whenever you fly for work or pleasure, air travel is probably responsible for the largest part of your carbon footprint. Avoid flying, if possible, on shorter trips, as driving may emit fewer greenhouse gases than flying.
If you can’t avoid flying, go economy class as the flight’s carbon emissions are shared among more passengers. Business-class is responsible for almost three times, while the first-class can result in nine times as much emission as the economy. Try to offset the carbon emissions of your travel by paying an amount of money for a project that reduces greenhouse gases somewhere else.
10. Plant a tree
Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, in turn, give off oxygen. One tree absorbs around one ton of carbon dioxide in the whole of its lifetime. Hence, if someone has the means to plant trees, now is the time.
11. Grow on your own
The more people start growing their own plants for food, the higher amount of greenhouse gases we can eliminate from the air. We can reduce more food miles that are represented by a mile in which the food has to be transported from producer to consumer.
Some foods have huge food miles. These miles are often made by vehicles that release a multitude of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
12. Water should be used sparingly
For example, when brushing your teeth you should turn off the water. Also, when shampooing the dog or washing your car, you have to stop the water flow until you are done. Install a low-flow showerhead to reduce water use, and taking shorter showers helps, too.
13. Use less hot water
One can wash their clothes in cold or warm water to reduce their use of hot water together with the energy required to produce it. By setting the water heater at 120 degrees Celsius, it can save energy as well as 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year at the minimum, in many of the households.
There is also a need to save on energy as it results in the production of carbon dioxide. Low-flow showerheads can also be purchased to save on hot water that can probably save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
14. Avoid products with excessive packaging
Excessive packaging means that one is going to throw away excess waste to the environment, especially in the compost sites and landfills, where they pollute the environment.
Less packaging is, therefore, better as it reduces wastage and high greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere during product production.
15. Buy green electricity
There is the need to adopt renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hot rocks and wave power. There is a possibility that coal, natural gas and oil will be depleted from the earth’s surface and as such, adopting safe and renewable sources of energy is imperative.
If one is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, then they have to replace their entire energy systems by opting for electricity from green energy sources.
16. More teleconference and telecommunication
Most business professionals take flights, private cars and public transport to their places of work or for their meetings. These objects emit so much carbon dioxide gases to the environment that results in global warming.
Through using these technologies to communicate, one does not record high carbon footprint as compared to using other means of transport.
17. One can replace the light bulbs
Compact Fluorescent light bulbs can be used instead of regular light bulbs. If a CFL is used instead of a 60-watt incandescent one, it saves $30 over the life of this bulb. Besides, CFL bulbs last much longer, 10 times more than incandescent bulbs. They also use two-thirds less energy while giving off 70% less heat.
If a CFL is used instead of a regular bulb, then it would help eliminate around 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, which is the same as taking 7.5 million cars off our roads.
One can use natural light during the day instead of keeping them on. In this case, they open up their blinds and allow the sunshine into their rooms.
18. Dry the clothes by hanging them on the line
To dry clothes, one does not require the use of natural gas or electricity. Using ironing boxes means that much heat is generated and emitted into the atmosphere, which results in increased greenhouse gases.
19. People can use non-toxic household products
Most of the household cleaning products are considered toxic besides being petroleum-based. These products are considered as the main causes of high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
These toxic chemicals can be eliminated by making the right choices in the supermarkets of purchasing products that are less hazardous to the lives of people or the environment.
20. Often use the “off” switch
By switching off the electricity, one reduces the amount of global warming while they only use the amount of energy that they need. Also, when you are not using your computer, television, music system, then turn them off.
Unplug any appliances that are not used, especially our mobile charging systems, because even though they are switched off, they sap energy.
21. Choose organic foods that are in season and go local
Transporting food from far away, whether by truck, ship, rail or plane, uses fossil fuels for fuel and also for cooling to prevent foods from spoiling in transit.
22. Don’t buy fast fashion
Instead, buy quality clothing that will last. Trendy, cheap items go out of style quickly and get dumped in landfills where they produce methane as they decompose.
The average American discards about 80 pounds of clothing each year, 85 percent of which ends up in landfills. Besides, most fast fashion comes from China and Bangladesh. Therefore, shipping them to far-off places means the consumption of fossil fuels.
23. Buy less stuff!
Less stuff means less waste. Take your own reusable bag with you whenever you are out to shop. Try to avoid items with excess packaging. Choose the product wisely while you buy it.
For example, if you’re in the market for a new computer, opt for a laptop instead of a desktop. Charging and operating laptops require less energy than desktops.
Always look for Energy Star products, which are certified to be more energy efficient. Support companies and buy from them that are environmentally responsible and sustainable.
24. People should learn to conserve
To increase people’s awareness about the effects of greenhouse gases, various programs and policies have to be set to help with information and knowledge sharing.
People must share information and knowledge about recycling and energy conservation with everyone in the workplace, surrounding.
The public officials also have to be informed of the benefits of such policies and programs so that they support such courses and take action to address such problems.
25. Vote thoughtfully
Perhaps most importantly, the most effective solutions to climate change require governmental action. Use your vote to let your representatives know that you want them to take action to phase out fossil fuels and decarbonize the country as fast as possible.