How to Take Steps Towards Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

by Leah Feor July 28, 2016

Start Where You Are Reduce Carbon Footprint

It’s being talked about more and more.  You’ll hear it in the news, no matter which medium you choose.  Your carbon footprint – and how to reduce it – is a big deal.

But what does it really mean? 

Carbon Footprint is the impact we have on the Earth.  It is measured by the amount of carbon dioxide that we release into the atmosphere with our daily activities.

 

In 2011, the average annual carbon dioxide emissions per person was 17 tons in the United States.  Whereas in the United Kingdom, it was 7.1 tons.  

If you take these averages, and adjust it to your lifestyle, you will have a general idea of how big your annual footprint is.  

Depending on how much you travel, what type of food and products you buy, the size and efficiency of your home, it adds up.  So for example, if you bike to work or take public transportation, and you are a vegetarian living in an energy efficient home, you are leaving a lighter footprint on the Earth.  

It’s important to keep in mind however that not everybody’s lifestyle is the same, and it is not always feasible to ride a bike to work.  Luckily, there are so many other ways to reduce your carbon footprint, that there is definitely an option for everyone.

You might be asking yourself; why is it so important that I reduce my carbon footprint?

The simplest way to answer this is: carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere in excess contributes to global warming and climate change.  We can all take part in making the planet a healthier place to live for the global community by reducing our impact on the Earth.  Keep in mind, burning fossil fuel for energy generation - coal and crude oil for example - is still one of the greatest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions. That means decreasing dependency on this type of energy consumption is already a stride forward in reducing your carbon footprint.

Here are five great ways to reduce your carbon footprint:

  1. Plant a vegetable garden – not only will this act provide you with fresh vegetables right in your backyard which reduces dependency on transporting food from another location – planting and caring for a garden also nourishes and enriches our soil.  This plays a big part in improving the quality of our ecosystem;
  2. Harvest rainwater - city water needs to be processed which uses energy and some mild chemicals.  When you capture rainwater in a rain barrel, you are conversing clean water that can be used to feed your garden with quality H2O.  Not to mention, preventing rainwater from entering storm drains by harvesting it prevents overflow of municipal water systems during heavy rainfalls – trees offer the same benefit;
  3. Plant a tree - this is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.  For both of the reasons that I mentioned above.  Trees enrich the soil and help divert water from flooding streets due to overflow of storm drains.  One of the consequences of climate change is flash flooding, so planting the right tree, in the right place can definitely mitigate risks today, and for years to come.  In addition, as a tree matures and grows strong, it absorbs more and more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which in turn indirectly reduces the carbon footprint of the person who planted the tree.
  4. Ride your bike or take a hike – this tip is not limited to just the commute to and from work, it can be applied to your recreational life as well.  If you are looking for a fun activity, skip the movie or the mall, and go for a nice long walk in nature or a bike ride instead.  This is a great way to improve your health and support the health of our ecosystem.  Indoor activities have a heavier impact on the Earth because they often require more electricity.  While watching a movie releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, bird watching outside, does not;
  5. Use a fan in your home instead of air conditioner – if you live in a warmer climate, you might find yourself cranking the AC on a hot day.  Try opening the windows to get a cross breeze, and turn on the ceiling fan to circulate the air.  Though it might be unbearable in the daytime due to the heat generated by the sun, it’s definitely something you can try in the evening;

If you are looking for more inspiration and tips, take a peek at this site for a great list of other ways you can make a positive impact with your daily actions: The Lazy Persons Guide to Saving the World.

So now that you know a little bit more about what you can do, are you ready to take a step forward to reduce your carbon footprint?  

If you'd like to share your ideas with others on how you got started on reducing your environmental impact on the Earth, comment below or connect on social media.


Leah Feor
Leah Feor

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