How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: 10 Changes to Implement
Climate change is a very current debate topic, separating people on two sides of the barricade. Fortunately, more and more scientists take into account the very real effects carbon pollution has on the planet. Carbon footprint is the latest buzz word used by everyone from the media to politicians, so today we talk about how to reduce your carbon footprint effectively.
From mega-storms and altered weather patterns to draughts and food insecurity, there’s no doubt we need to reduce the toll of man-made pollution on the planet. Roughly defined, carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted by an individual or a population over a certain period. In short, the more of these gasses that we emit into the atmosphere, the worse it is for the environment.
Much of the responsibility to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint falls on governments. However, you can also take various steps every day to help keep the planet healthy for future generations. Read on to find out how you can become more environmentally aware.
1. Unplug Your Gadgets
You might have known that powering off your gadgets is good for your devices, but did you know it is also good for the planet? Even better is to unplug your chargers when you’re not using them. You should adjust your tech behaviors if you always leave your phone charger dangling from the wall, forget to power off your cable box, or never put your computer on sleep mode. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, simply adopting these easy practices will save you around $100 each year on your energy bill.
2. Carpool or Take Public Transit
According to The Rideshare Company, the average American spends about 18 days in a car annually. Each car emits its own weight in carbon dioxide, so it is quite easy to understand the benefits of carpooling. One car uses less gas than two – and definitely much less than three! At the same time, riding the bus or subway to work can significantly reduce the number of GHG-emitting cars on the road. Make a habit out of leaving your car in the garage at least one day a week and taking the bus instead.
3. Adjust Your Thermostat
You can make a difference for the plant by simply adjusting the temperature in your house to moderate. Keeping your house two degrees cooler in the winter and two degrees warmer in the summer can translate into big savings on your energy bills. Also, turn off your thermostat when you’re not in your home; it can save you up to 15 percent on your energy bill. Check out more thermostat tips on the U.S. Department of Energy website.
4. Buy Local Food
We all enjoy eating our favorite fruit year-round, even though chances are it doesn’t grow locally to where we live. You might enjoy a juicy slice of watermelon during the winter, but purchasing foods that are in season and grown locally is a greener practice. Doing so, you can significantly cut down the carbon emissions of the vehicles used to transport your winter watermelon across the nation. According to the Worldwatch Institute, food travels an average of 1,500 miles between the farm and the supermarket. Why not find foods grown closer to your home?
5. Chose Energy-Efficient Kitchen Appliances
Refrigerators and ovens are indispensable, and they consume a lot of energy. Replacing them with Energy Star-certified kitchen appliances will drastically lower your energy bill. Meanwhile, we recommend microwaving your food instead of using the stove. Even though it’s not such a classy option, it’s faster and often uses less energy than the stove. If your meal takes 15 minutes to cook in the microwave versus one hour in the stove, choosing the microwave will save you roughly 20 cents each time. And you don’t even have to sacrifice taste! If you are using the oven, place the food your food on the upper shelf. It will cook faster because of the rising heat.
6. Plant a Tree
Luckily, planting a tree is not just a classic way to give back to the environment. It’s also one of the most efficient ways to cut your carbon footprint. Trees provide oxygen and shade, while also acting as carbon dioxide absorbers. According to the Urban Forestry Network, just one young tree consumes 13 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. As the tree matures, the amount climbs up to 48 pounds each year. A single 10-year-old tree releases enough oxygen into the air to supply two human beings.
7. Choose a Laptop over a Desktop
Unlike desktop computers, laptops are designed to be energy-efficient. Battery life is a major factor taken into account when designing a laptop. Energy Star estimates a laptop is up to 80% more energy-efficient than a desktop. Thanks to energy-efficient hard drives, LCD screens, CPUs and adaptors, laptops are much better tools in the fight to protect the planet. Also, if you want to get rid of your desktop, do it properly.
8. Take a Shower Instead of a Bath
Taking a shower uses just 1/5 of the energy used by taking a bath. As long as you don’t fall asleep and let the water run, you will also use less water. If you don’t want to give up your relaxing baths, there are other energy-efficient options. For instance, you can install a “low flow” shower head, thus limiting the amount of water you use.
9. Filter Your Own Water
Buying packaged bottled water is harming the planet more than you think. It’s not just the environmental toll of the plastic waste from each 16 ounce serving. You should also consider the water’s journey – how many miles it was transported – until it reached the supermarket shelves. In most western countries, tap water is perfectly safe for drinking. If you are still worried about the potential contamination, invest in a filtration pitcher. You won’t have to buy another water bottle again!
10. Switch to Renewable Energy
One of the most efficient ways to conserve the planet is also one of the costlier ones. However, there are several ways to go about this. Firstly, you could research your energy providers and find one that will sell you green energy. Secondly, you could takes the DIY route and install your own solar panels.
Which one of these green tips have your already tried? Now that you know how to reduce your carbon footprint, you have no excuse for continuing to pollute the environment. Today is a good day to start doing your part!