How to minimize your carbon footprint

We frequently hear about the global climate change and the devastating effects of carbon pollution on our planet. Each year, we are faced with harsh weather conditions such as storms and hurricanes, and severe issues like shortage of food supply due to changing weather patterns. But not many people are serious about minimizing their carbon footprint to reduce the effects of our unhealthy living habits on our planet.

If you’re still thinking that melting icebergs cannot be controlled with a lifestyle change of one individual, it’s time to rethink your approach. Each affirmative action taken by you will inspire your friends, family and loved ones – and you can play your part so that the future generations have a healthy planet to live.

You can start by understanding how much carbon you are emitting as a household. Many online tools can help you calculate it. Check out the carbon footprint calculator by U.S Environmental Protection Agency. It is an easy tool that calculates how much CO2 you are emitting on a yearly basis based on your activities. You will be surprised to know that every year in the United States alone, 17 metric tons (37,400 pounds) of carbon is emitted per capita.

If these numbers are shocking, then it is time to rethink your lifestyle choices. Start cutting back on your daily use of energy and take some inspiration from our list of actions that can help you reduce your carbon footprint. After all, we all have a social responsibility towards our planet and its high time that we cut down our impact:

1. Change your lightbulbs

Most of us don’t think about the lightbulbs in our homes and offices. A quick fix is to switch all the compact fluorescent bulbs for LED ones. The fluorescent light bulb is one of the most inefficient items that is used in the household. You’ll be surprised to know that 90% of its energy is converted into heat and only 10% results in actual light. In fact, one bulb can reduce up to 1,300 pounds CO2 during its lifetime. So, it’s high time that every house should make this change.

2. Look for sources of renewable energy

An excellent way to save money and lessen your use of power is to opt for solar installation. According to a research, solar, wind and nuclear plants have an insignificant carbon footprint as compared to sources such as coal or gas.

There is constant innovation in the field of solar energy software, and you can choose from a variety of designs that offer economic efficiency as well as lower carbon emissions. From solar-powered streetlights to smart energy saving homes, the list of solar powered applications is endless.

3. Reduce your water usage

Make sure that you use water wisely. Wash your car less often and use climate-appropriate plants in your garden. These are only some of the water-efficient choices that you can make. You can also purchase water conserving shower heads, faucet heads, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines to lower your carbon footprint.

4. Carpool together or take the bus

Did you know that reducing your car’s yearly mileage by a mere 5,000 miles can help you save more than a ton of CO2? If it is vital to use a car to commute to work, then think about carpooling. You’ll save money and use less gas as compared to two or three cars on the road. Similarly, you can also ride the bus or take the train to slash down the adverse environmental effects of cars.

If you still want to travel in your car, think about investing in an electric vehicle. It is a better choice as compared to the traditional vehicle as electric vehicles are more energy efficient.

5. Eat less meat

Did you know that your dietary choices also have an impact on the environment? Minimizing your intake of beef and lamb can help reduce methane emissions in the atmosphere. The reason behind it is that cows require 28 times more land to graze and 11 times more water to flourish, as compared to chicken and pork. Hence, red meat consumption results in five times more CO2 emissions.

In fact, an all vegan diet can bring a reduction of almost 20% to your overall carbon footprint. Read this article by The Guardian to learn how giving up red meat can reduce carbon footprint even more than cars.

6. Say no to processed food

Try to reduce your daily consumption of bottled water and packaged food items. Don’t eat anything that comes out of a plastic bag. Not only does packaged food contribute to the rise in demand for fossil fuels but is dangerous for your health. One of the main reason why China is considered the highest CO2 emitter is that they are one the most significant sources of imported goods for countries like the U.S.

Instead, try to buy locally sourced and organic food from the local farmers’ market. It will help the local farmers community in flourishing even more. A weekly trip to the farmers’ market will also help you minimize food wastage by planning meals ahead of time.

7. Maintain temperature in your home

One of the most significant sources of energy consumption in every household is central air-conditioning and heating. Simple adjustments in your daily routine can help in making a difference in your overall carbon footprint. Try to keep the air conditioner’s thermostat at least 2 degrees warmer in the summer and tweak the heating system to maintain temperature 2 degrees cooler in the winter.

These small and unnoticeable changes will have a significant impact on your energy bills, and you’ll find yourself in a win-win situation by saving extra bucks and benefitting your planet too! Similarly, don’t forget to turn off your thermostat when you leave for work. Read more about thermostat tips from the U.S. Department of Energy to lessen your carbon footprint even more.

Conclusion

It’s high time that we learn more about what is happening to our planet and what we can do about these climate changes. By adopting just a few energy-saving practices, we can make a significant impact. Our aim should be to become carbon neutral, and these steps will help us accomplish that goal in no time.

Do you play your part in trying to reduce the carbon footprint of your household and workplace? If yes, then share some tried and tested CO2 lowering strategies with us in the comments below:


Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia

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