Nowadays, it is common to hear reports about climate change and its effects on our environment. Based on the study of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in 2030, if we do not reduce climate change, there will be an intense buildup of high temperatures, droughts, and floods, which will have an enormous impact globally.
The main reason for climate change has been the severe rise in greenhouse gas emissions brought about by artificial factors and human activity, which is known as the carbon footprint.
Everyday activities can amount to the increase in one's carbon footprint, such as traveling by car. And if you are one of the many who have the desire to contribute to our planet Earth and reduce your carbon footprint but would like to start small, there are sensible ways you can do it starting today that will significantly benefit Mother Nature.
But before we dive deep into the details of reducing our carbon footprint, we first need to define what it is all about.
What Is a Carbon Footprint?
Carbon footprint is the amount of the entire byproducts derived from consuming fossil fuels to produce and transport the merchandise, goods, construction of buildings for houses, establishments, and businesses, as well as travel.
However, when we think of reducing our carbon footprint and combating climate change, we often think of the extremes, such as no plastic whatsoever, setting up a compost system for food scraps, recycling, or reusing every single thing we can get our hands on.Get Solar Estimates
The fact of the matter is that going zero waste is a big commitment that takes time and requires everyone in the household to be on board. And reducing your carbon footprint means shifting your ways and actions that can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Eat Less Meat, and Eat More Veggies and Fruits!
Among the most serious acts you can do to reduce your own carbon footprint is eating less animal produce, particularly less red meat. While some people choose to stop eating meat altogether, the world would be much better off if we collectively agreed to cut back on our red meat consumption.
We've all heard about how harmful burning fossil fuel is for the environment. But did you know that the greenhouse gas emissions from agribusiness are an even bigger problem than the pollutants released from burning fossil fuels?
Animal farming needs a higher amount of energy compared to vegetation. A massive carbon footprint comes from employing the power to harvest and transport their food to manufacturing and finally dispatching them to the marketplace and supermarkets. Furthermore, according to PETA, it takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat (the livestock industry contests that figure; several other sources place the amount of water closer to 1,800 gallons). That's incredibly unsustainable, not to mention that it puts immense strain on our water supply.
The main point is that you don't have to quit meat altogether, but neither should it be a staple in every meal. A savory and hearty alternative is to shift to rich protein foods like veggies and fruits. With vegetarianism and veganism on the rise, plant-based options have come a long way in the last few years. Or you can also try scaling back and having meat just a few times a week or substituting plant-based "meats," chicken, or turkey for red meat. Poultry farming has less effect on the atmosphere.
Eat Local and Opt for Organic
So, besides less meat, what else can you eat to reduce your carbon footprint?
Local, in-season, and organic produce! By sticking to foods that are grown close to home, you eliminate the need for shipping, particularly from other countries. Produce that is minimally processed usually require less energy during manufacturing. Your carbon footprint is significantly reduced without the need for trucks, trains, ships, or planes, not to mention packaging the products and keeping them cool.
You can even try to grow veggies yourself. By doing so, you have more control over the foods that you're ingesting and can bypass the use of toxic pesticides and other chemicals that harm the environment.
Travel Efficiently and Infrequently.
Transportation is considered the primary reason for greenhouse gas emissions. If you fly less and drive less, you will reduce your individual carbon footprint. When you are on the road, you can reduce fossil fuel emissions by progressing gradually and using the vehicle’s air conditioning cautiously. Also, always ensure precise tire pressure for better fuel savings.
Walk or Bike More
Although totally discarding your vehicle might seem impossible, you can take an alternative form of transportation such as taking a bus, train, bike, or even walking, which will be good for your health.
When you choose to walk or bike somewhere rather than take your car, you are:
- Meeting your body's weekly exercise needs
- Cutting back on harmful emissions
- Saving money on gas
- Upping your vitamin D intake
So many benefits from just one small switch!
Of course, it is only sometimes possible to walk or bike but do not write off public transportation when it comes to getting around town. Public transportation is a highly affordable alternative to taking your own vehicle. You can sit back, relax, read a book, play on your phone, or get work done on your commute, all while knowing you are doing your part to curb harmful emissions and reduce your carbon footprint.
What's a way you can shrink your carbon footprint right this second? Unplug devices that you are not using. Many of your household appliances use "vampire electricity." Even though they are not in use, they are still drawing standby power.
By unplugging computers, televisions, stereos, coffeemakers, toasters, lamps, and DVD players, you are not only saving electricity but also cutting costs and saving money. It has been estimated that up to ten percent of your residential electricity is being used by devices that are plugged in 24 hours a day. Defeat your energy vampires by unplugging devices after you use them.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Domestic garbage is among the biggest problems in our environment. An enormous volume of wasted products, goods, staples, food and single-use supplies are discarded in homes yearly, poisoning the Earth from its primary manufacturing and possibly with unwarrantable dumping.
There are numerous ordinary steps to reduce, reuse and recycle unnecessary waste, support the environment, and reduce our carbon footprint. Simple things such as making compost from your leftover foods or kitchen scraps, and discontinue buying disposable products (paper cups and plates) and instead purchase products that can be reused. You can also segregate and assign garbage containers for biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. And if you can prevent buying products made of plastic or with plastic wrapping or containers, you will contribute to the reduction of waste material even more.
Every time you go and shop, buy durable merchandise with a longer life cycle so you can prevent premature exchanging of your item. Purchasing low-cost, one-use items, from fixtures to fashion to kitchen appliances, is not an excellent choice to save. Instead, you may find yourselves taking a replacement on the products repeatedly because they quickly wear and tear. Investing more in durable and long-lasting products will be a perfect choice. In this manner, you are helping to reduce the carbon footprint since it means a reduced amount of energy has been employed in the production, and less waste will be headed for dumpsites.
Switch to Clean Energy
One of the newer ways of reducing your carbon footprint is when you make the switch to clean, renewable energy because you are protecting the environment in a significant way. As it currently stands, we get most of our energy from burning fossil fuels, which release toxins that accelerate global warming. Additionally, fossil fuels are a finite resource, so no matter what, we'll have to start making the switch to renewable sources of power at some point. Best to do so while we still have natural resources left.
You can work on simply cutting down on your electricity use altogether, sign up for energy-saving programs, or go big by installing solar panels on your roof. You may even qualify for $0 down solar installation!
Add to that the generous tax credits and state-specific incentives that solar panels offer, and it's no wonder many homeowners are opting for clean energy.
Protect What We Have Left
It is no secret that we have done some serious damage to Mother Nature, but with help from these workable steps, you can reduce your carbon footprint right now. And what is the best part? These steps do not require extreme lifestyle changes.
It is vital that we all start to take small steps toward protecting the resources that we have left while there is still time to do so. Get started with these carbon footprint–reducing tips today!Get Solar Estimates