Environmental awareness is at an all-time high. As global temperatures continue to rise, our local and global ecosystems are impacted by our collective activity and carbon footprints. While we can agree this is an issue worth noting, it can be difficult, however, to figure out what you can do to help. There are various actions you can take every day that will help keep the planet healthy for generations to come.
One approach is to reduce your carbon footprint. But what does that mean? Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide you generate during your daily activities. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. As we produce more carbon dioxide, we increase its concentration in our atmosphere. Eventually, this gas helps trap heat around the Earth, contributing to global warming. What’s your current carbon footprint? Use this carbon footprint calculator from Conservation.org and learn how to reduce your emissions by considering our five simple tips.
1. Take Public Transit or Carpool
If possible, take public transportation or use a carpool to get to work. If you can walk or bike, that’s even better! Most forms of travel, whether it be flying or driving, have a harsh impact on the planet. Transportation is now the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States.
In many U.S. locations, the personal automobile is the single greatest polluter because emissions from millions of vehicles on the road add up. Choosing to bike, walk or carpool, helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion and our demand for oil.
2. Change Your Shopping Habits
Being eco-friendly when shopping is a great way to start helping out the planet. Consider simple changes, such as choosing reusable linen bags for the supermarket, avoiding plastic packaging, and buying grocery items in bulk. When shopping for larger ticket items, choose products that are made to last, are of higher quality, and built with eco-friendly practices.
For example, the wood used to make furniture from countrysideamishfurniture.com is sourced only from new growth forests and built without the use of heavy machinery. Other options for being a more green shopper include purchasing used or reconditioned items (e.g. second-hand clothing), energy-efficient products, and items with minimal packaging.
3. Eat Seasonally & Locally
Eating seasonally also means eating local, which is great for the environment. Check the USDA’s website to find a local farmers market near you and see what foods are in season. When you support local farmers, you don’t have to worry about how far your food traveled to get to you. Local food from a local farmers’ market has traveled a much shorter distance than supermarket food from all over the world. Not only will you help your local economy, but you’ll also cut down on carbon emissions from the vehicles used to transport produce from all over the country.
4. Adjust Your Thermostat & Curtains
Much of our energy consumption goes to heating and air conditioning. Lowering your thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer (even by just a few degrees) can cause a significant decrease in energy use. Not to mention, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat. When it’s not cold outside, open your curtains to use natural sunlight instead of lamps and lights.
In the winter, open the curtains on your windows to let the sun help naturally heat your home. Then close them when the sun sets to lock-in that heat. Also, don’t forget to set your thermostat while you’re away. Setting your thermostat appropriately while you’re away can save energy, but also ensure interior climates are responsibly maintained.
5. Conserve Water & Avoid Bottled Water
It takes lots of energy to pump, treat, and heat water, so saving water reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, take shorter showers, water your plants in the early morning or evening to reduce evaporation, wash your clothes in cold water, and wash only full loads of laundry and dishes. Also, bottled water leaves behind a massive ecological footprint. Consider switching from bottled water to filtered tap water. Not only will you save money, but you’ll help reduce a ton of plastic waste in the process.
Reducing your carbon footprint in any way you can, big or small, not only helps conserve energy, but helps put a stop to global warming as well. While there are many ways to do this and save energy, take charge today by implementing these simple and easy changes. Our actions and choices ultimately make a difference, and we all share the responsibility to do whatever we can to address climate change.