How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Lifestyle
Our carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gasses we release during our daily activities.
Although most people often believe that they are not that capable of making a drastic environmental change by reducing their personal impact on the climate, the truth is there are a lot of things we can do as individuals that can actually make quite a meaningful difference.
From small and easy things like remembering to turn off the light when we leave the house, and bringing a reusable shopping bag when going grocery shopping, to the more challenging lifestyle choices, like our diet, our means of travel and our everyday lifestyle.
We all have the power to change the culture and react to climate change in a way that can really make an impact.
Solving the ever-growing problem of climate change will not be up to any one of us; it will be up to all of us, so let’s see what you can actually do in order to make a real difference.
Take public transport, bike or walk to work, school or to the store as often as you can.
Not only do public transit riders eliminate tons of air pollutants from being released, but they save on money as well.
However, riding the bus, or taking the bicycle to work isn’t an option for everyone, especially for people who live in rural or suburban areas and have to drive twice as long than those who live in the city.
For those that cannot fully commit to taking public transport, cycling or walking instead of taking the car, their best option would be to at least limit their use of their vehicle.
Some options available to those people would be to carpool, choose to walk or use public transport whenever possible, or even switch to an electronic car if possible.
Driving an electric car can reduce a lot of carbon dioxide per year, which is significant, but it still doesn’t have as much of an impact as simply not driving a car at all.
Change of Diet
Although this part often surprises a lot of people, the global food production system is one of the primary sources of carbon dioxide emissions and the emissions of other greenhouse gases.
Although you might think that the primary culprit to blame for all this is the packaging, the highest CO2 emissions actually come from livestock farming and the use of fertilisers.
Animal agriculture and meat consumption contribute significantly to global warming.
One of the ways that livestock farming contributes to global warming is through deforestation (so that pasture lands can expand), the significant use of water, as well as the use of fertilizer, some of which break down into nitrous oxide, which is even more dangerous than CO2.
If you want to make a significant difference to food-related emissions, the best way to do so is to reduce your consumption of meat and dairy.
Cutting out meat from of your diet can reduce almost a ton of CO2 emissions every year. And although veganism might not be a choice that everyone’s prepared to undertake, even limiting your meat consumption can go a long way into preserving our environment.
Another important step that you can take when it comes to your diet is to eat local foods, and eat out at local restaurants.
No matter how tasty those exotic fruits might look, try to eat local seasonal fruits and vegetables that haven’t traveled across the world in huge shipping containers. This way you won’t just be reducing your carbon footprint, but you’ll also be supporting the local economy and eating locally grown, fresh and tasty produce that’s full of flavor and healthy nutrients.
If you want to reduce your electricity usage at home, you should definitely opt for battery-powered devices and appliances.
Some of the best cordless electric vacuum cleaners and steam mops won’t just save you on electricity bills, they’ll also save you a lot of time and effort in the process, as they are easier to use and more convenient than their corded counterparts.
Most importantly they are more eco-friendly, require less energy to run and are the perfect choice for eco-conscious shoppers and homeowners.
The same pretty much goes for other cordless appliances and home devices as well. So whenever you have the choice, opt for the cordless electric models that will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
There are many other simple steps that you can take to reduce your use of electricity, including:
- Turning off the light when you’re not in the room
- Using a line instead of a drier to dry clothes
- Switching to LED bulbs
- Closing doors to rooms you’re not using, to avoid hot or cold air to escape
- Insulating your doors and windows
- Turning off and unplugging your TV, TV cable box, computer, and any other electronic device you’re not using
- Switching to renewable energy options
- Washing clothes in cold water
- Only doing your laundry or using the dish washer when you have a full load
Although the changes in diet, transportation and the way we use electricity are the key points we need to focus on if we really want to significantly reduce our carbon footprint, there are a few smaller, but nonetheless very important steps we can take as well. Those include:
- Buying or renting used furniture, clothes, electronics, cars and other similar products whenever possible
- Reducing unnecessary purchases of food, clothes, gadgets, electronics and more i.e. embracing a minimalist lifestyle
- Reducing water usage
- Using grey water to water your plants and garden
- Composting your food leftovers and waste
- Reusing and recycling
- Flying less
- Choosing to stay in green hotels
- Buying locally produced products, clothes and food
- Planting trees and growing a veggie or herb garden
Sharing the Word
Although this is not a direct way to reduce your carbon footprint, keeping up with environmental news and trends and sharing those with your friends, family and co-workers can possibly inspire others to implement the same changes themselves.
The most important thing you need to remember is that you shouldn’t expect a significant change to occur right away.
The important thing to tell yourself is that all of us, both individually and as a society have the power to respond to global warming and climate change in a meaningful way, which is all the inspiration you’ll need to reduce your carbon footprint and lead a healthier, more meaningful life.