Climate change is a big area of concern, and even governments are getting on board with plans to reduce emissions and waste. Everyone has a responsibility to protect the planet for future generations, and for most of us, that means making a few simple changes to reduce our carbon footprints. Below, you can learn more about carbon footprints and discover some simple, yet effective ways to reduce it.
What Is a Carbon Footprint, Anyway?
Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses that your way of life produces. Virtually everything you do, including driving your car to work and even taking a shower at the end of a long day, produces at least some greenhouse gasses. Carbon dioxide is the primary culprit, but other gasses, such as a variety of fluorinated gasses, nitrous oxide, and even methane, are all bad news for the atmosphere. It’s up to each individual to determine how their unique way of life affects the environment and make the changes necessary to protect the planet for the future.
Calculating Your Carbon Footprint
The first step in this process involves calculating your personal carbon footprint. Though it may seem daunting, there are plenty of resources available to help make this step as simple as possible. For example, the team at Sustain.life provides an excellent guide that can help you determine your carbon footprint with just a few simple questions. If you want to take things a step further, you can visit rePurpose.global to calculate your plastic footprint, too. The average carbon footprint for an American is 16 tons, which is one of the highest rates in the world. At the global level, the average is only four tons.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Reducing your carbon footprint by 75% isn’t something you can do overnight, but the good news is that you can drastically reduce your impact on the environment by making a few simple changes in your everyday habits and purchases. Some of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint include:
- Utilizing public transportation or carpooling. Transportation is the number one contributor to the average American’s carbon footprint, so the best way to reduce it is to find ways to reduce your driving time. Walking or riding a bike is good for you and the environment, but if the destination is too far away, taking public transportation or carpooling is better than driving yourself.
- Staying away from single-use plastics. Single-use plastics are a major problem. Not only do they clog up our waterways and litter beaches and riverbeds, but the greenhouse gas emissions that come from their production is astronomical. By switching from disposable plastic items to reusable or biodegradable ones, instead, you can reduce your carbon footprint a great deal.
- Reusing what you already have. Every time you buy a new product, think about the amount of energy required to not only manufacture it, but also to ship it across the country. Before you buy a new product, think about the things you already have and whether they can be repurposed and reused in a way that negates your need to make a new purchase.
- Pay attention to local products and foods. Finally, it’s important to note that the shipping industry is responsible for a huge part of the global greenhouse gas emissions. When you buy something, and especially your food, think about how far that food had to be shipped to find its way to your table. Whenever you can, buy locally-grown and locally-raised food, instead. It doesn’t need to be shipped across the country or around the world, and you can feel better about the food you put on your family’s table.
Understanding and reducing your personal carbon footprint might seem like a futile attempt to change the world, but when millions upon millions of people choose to turn their awareness into action, things really do change for the better. Challenge yourself to make one simple swap every week, and you’ll soon discover that saving the planet isn’t as difficult as you might have thought.