Actionable Steps That Anyone Can Do to Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

One of Mahatma Gandhi's famous quotes, "Live Simply, So Others May Simply Live," rings true to actionable steps that anyone can do to reduce their carbon footprint. With this quote in mind, each individual entrusts their daily living to a higher level of consciousness about the environment in which we live.

Anyone Can Reduce Their Carbon Footprint 

Anyone can reduce their carbon footprint with a little forethought and planning. Start by taking inventory of your present daily lifestyle. If you find it is overloaded with excess, begin to pare down as much of the excess as possible. Ridding oneself of excess is the first step to reduce your carbon footprint.

This doesn't mean tossing it all in the trash where it ends up in a landfill. It means recycling, repurposing and rethinking of ways to reduce waste. Most humans' buying impulse is based on desire to have, not necessarily need.

The Big Three of Actionable Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 

The three major actionable steps to reduce your carbon footprint include, but are not limited to:

1. Rethinking Need versus Want

2. Recycling Ideas for Simple Living

3. Recreating a Less Environmentally Imposing Lifestyle

carbon footprint

Rethinking Need Versus Want 

It is well known that humans are driven more by desire than by need. So they often buy and consume at excessive levels more by desire to own and impress others, than actual need.

Contrary to popular theory, size does matter when you want to reduce your carbon footprint. Take for example, the report that today's middle aged Americans with children buy homes double the size of what their parents or grandparents purchased in the 1950s.

Meanwhile due to economic slowdowns, environmentally and ecologically conscious millennials are buying tiny homes of less than 1000 square feet.

Perhaps another example of size that has an impact on carbon footprints are today's oversized trucks and cars. Most of these are not hybrids and require fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are widely known to be a major source of pollution in the scientific communities.

The question to ask to reduce your carbon footprint is, "Do I really need this or do I just want it?"

A quick check on a closet or storage area already too cluttered will provide the answer. Amassing unneeded items is not a future investment. It merely adds clutter.

carbon footprint

Recycling Ideas for Simple Living 

Once the habit of recycling is studied and implemented, it is time to recycle ideas on simple living. Each day is an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint if you take the time to think deeply about how to do it.

Simple living needn't mean deprivation of the senses. Recycle your ideas on what you enjoy most and check each for excess and waste and then, pare down these enjoyments so they don't impose on ecology or the environment.

If it's been a while since you walked in the woods or studied the stars over your head, these are enjoyments that cost far less than a shopping trip or expensive travel arrangements.

Take the time to learn what your town offers. You may find numerous natural environments as yet undiscovered. It's all a matter of redefining what nature offers for you and your family.

Simple living reduces a carbon footprint for children when parents take the time to educate their kids about the importance of a clean, healthy environment.

Take the children on a local tour of a museum or a historical site. Help them identify flora and fauna in their own local area. This helps increase the value of their awareness of how they can reduce their carbon footprint and yours. It may also help their grades.

carbon footprint

Recreating a Less Environmentally Imposing Lifestyle 

There is a hidden benefit to creating a less environmentally imposing lifestyle. Most individuals find they spend less money and feel more confident they are reducing their carbon footprint with a simpler plan for living.

It may be quite a self-effacing job to look long and hard at present personal habits that are ignored. For instance, how many unnecessary trips to the grocery store could be consolidated to save energy and time? There is also the wear and tear on your vehicle to consider that will mean purchasing a newer vehicle sooner.

Reducing your carbon footprint at home requires planning. Most individuals recycle paper, glass and plastics. However, check with the municipality on how to recycle toxic goods like rubber tires, unused cans of paint and hazardous cleaners that end up in landfills where toxic materials leach into soil, air and groundwater.

Meal planning can also be an actionable step to reduce your carbon footprint. Eating healthy has become a major focus in many countries. Preparing healthy meals is an actionable step when each step of meal preparation is carefully arranged so that there is less waste.

Instead of tossing food scraps into the trash, consider contributing them to a compost in your local area or better yet, homeowners can start a compost in their own backyards. Not only will this reduce waste that ends up in landfills, but composted food scraps add nutrients to a homeowner's garden.

carbon footprint


While it is a noble endeavor to take actionable steps to reduce your carbon footprint, one person can only do so much, even by changing your lifestyle and following the above steps, one cannot truly achieve net zero emissions sadly. However, that should not discourage you.

What is possible is to further spread awareness, educate and encourage others to take similar steps and support organizations like the non-profit Cool Effect which devotes its energies behind funding carbon reducing projects from across the globe; from as far and wide as Honduras to Vietnam.

By supporting organizations like them, what you can achieve is to further spread your effects outward and compound add to the larger, worldwide effort to reduce the world’s carbon emissions.

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Shannon Minnis

I am passionate about travel, self-growth, and sustainability. I live with an abundance mindset and find gratitude in the natural beauty of the world. For that reason, I strive to make small changes every day to reduce my impact on the environment.

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