Your carbon footprint is a measurement of the number of carbon emissions produced by the activities in your daily life. The primary footprint is the sum of the direct carbon emissions of burning fossil fuels. Cars, homes, and possessions all contribute to this impact by using energy, most of which is produced by burning fossil fuels.
According to The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Earth’s climate system is undoubtedly getting warmer and the warming over the last 50 years is due to human contributions. These contributions include increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (Also known as “heat-trapping” gases). More heat is “trapped” in the earth’s atmosphere means warming temperatures.
Warmer temperatures increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of heat waves, which can pose health risks, especially for the elderly and young children. Climate change can also affect our natural environment, resources, and impacts our way of life in many ways.
Cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important element in fighting global warming and climate changes that may be a factor in catastrophic weather events.
So, it’s time to reduce your carbon footprint. There are various actions you can take every day that will help keep the planet healthy for current and future generations. Even small actions can have big impacts on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and inspiring others to follow in your footsteps. By doing these actions, you can also save money by saving energy. So here’re ways you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
Change Your Lightbulbs
One of the easiest things you can do to reduce the carbon footprint is to switch all of the incandescent light bulbs to Energy Star qualified light bulbs. One Energy Star light bulb in every American home can reduce up to 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, or about the amount of 800,000 cars, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Reports. Additionally, according to the EPA, the electric savings for a single Energy Star-rated light bulb is about $6 per year and $40 for its lifetime.
Replace old appliances
Older appliances are less energy efficient than newer models, especially models bearing the Energy Star label are recognized for having superior efficiency. By replacing these old clunkers in your home with energy-efficient appliances, you can save money and have a positive impact on the global environment.
When buying new electronic appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, water heaters, and clothes dryers, with smarter models, look at their energy usage. The more energy efficient they are, the more they will save you in the long run and the lower their CO2 impact will be.
Consider green electricity
Most of your daily activities depend on electricity and most of which is produced by burning fossil fuels. However, using sustainable and renewable resources such as solar, wind and wave power that can cut down on your carbon footprint and reduce overall energy usage when possible.
Turn everything off that is not in use
At home, there are some things you can start doing immediately to reduce the carbon footprint. All of the basic appliances and devices you use throughout your house including lights, computers, televisions, video game systems and so on should be turned off when not in use.
Another important thing to note is, many appliances and gadgets continue to consume energy if they are left plugged into a standard electrical socket whether you use them or not. So make sure unplug everything that is not in use so you won’t waste any electricity. You can also use a power strip to avoid the constant task of plugging and unplugging.
Reduce or eliminate your meat
You don’t have to become a vegetarian, but eating meat less frequently will significantly help the environment. Studies have shown that meals that include meat involve nearly twice the amount of carbon dioxide emissions than vegetarian meals and carbon emissions from agriculture are an even bigger problem than fossil fuels. That said, just limiting your meat consumption can make a huge difference to our environment. Don’t forget to inform your family and friends too! Most people simply don’t know about the connection between meat and climate change.
Eat Local or in-season food
According to Shrink That Footprint, You can reduce the carbon footprint of your food by up to 7% by eating locally. Since food often travels long distances between the time it is produced and the time it reaches your kitchen, it requires extensive fuel use that produces amounts of carbon dioxide. In fact, up to 83% of carbon emissions come from food production, which mainly consists of growing, storing and transporting food.
By using local food, you can support your local economy and help lessen the amounts of carbon emissions indirectly.
It is also worthing noting that eating local food out of season may have a larger footprint than importing food grown within the same season for some good reasons:
- Growing food in a non-native climate requires a hothouse, which uses the power
- Growing food from warm areas in cold areas requires larger amounts of fertilizer, which creates carbon emissions.
- Storing food consumes electric and may produce more carbon dioxide than transport.
A general rule for where something is grown? In-season food is better than food out of season and the closest to you, the better. So whenever possible, try to eat local, in-season produce.
Minimize food waste
Any food you throw away contributes to greenhouse gases (methane emissions), which increases your carbon footprint. Pay attention to the portion of food you buy that commonly spoils rather quickly and make sure you get the facts on when food is actually spoiled and no longer safe to eat. Minimize food waste is a great way that not only minimizes the carbon footprint but also to avoid throwing money away on uneaten food.
On the road
Cycling or driving a low carbon vehicle
When you cycle instead of drive, you can save on fossil fuel usage, save money, improve your health and avoid carbon emissions completely. According to the Transportation and Development Policy’s study, bicycling could help cut carbon dioxide from urban transportation 11%.
Full buses and electrified public transport are also the lowest carbon forms of transport. For cars, using a hybrid or electric car with low carbon electricity.
Public transportation and carpooling also drastically reduces the carbon footprint by spreading fuel usage across multiple riders and cutting the number of vehicles on the road. Similarly, if you need to run errands throughout the day, it’s a great idea to bundle these into one trip rather than making multiple stops and using more fuel.
Become a more efficient driver
Your driving style can also have an effect on the number of carbon emissions produced. Driving smoothly, maintaining a steady speed, avoiding sudden starts and stops are the good ways to become an efficient driver.
Avoid traffic by using traffic websites and apps and go different way or wait can also help you become a more efficient driver.
This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint because it helps reduce the number of things that need to be thrown away and the number of materials which have to be mined.
Grow a garden
No matter where you live, growing some plants is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint because it helps store carbon from the atmosphere into the soil. And we all know plants absorb carbon dioxide – a beneficial relationship for the natural environment, that we should be seeking to nurture. If you grow an edible garden such as a fruit or vegetable garden, it helps decrease the number of miles it takes to get food from the farm to your kitchen – which also reduces the carbon footprint of your food.