Continued greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change, leading to various unwanted environmental and health consequences. The methods below can help you decrease your carbon footprint, allowing you to live a healthier lifestyle and do your part in combating climate change.
Carbon footprint is the composite amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions released into the atmosphere from the activities of a person, community, organization, or country. The concept estimates the impact of our actions on climate change.
Climate change is complex and challenging to understand, especially since future impacts are unclear. However, although there are many unknowns, it’s evident that climate change is detrimental to the earth. Warm oceans, melted glaciers, storms, droughts, dangerous weather events, declining water supplies — these are just a few of the various undesirable consequences.
Although real solutions call for global-scale actions, your daily choices reduce your impact on the environment. If we all make small changes in our lives, we can make a big difference together. Ten ways below will help reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Walk or Bike to Nearby Destinations
Sure, driving your car is convenient. It gives you flexibility, comfort, and a roof over your head in bad weather. But, unfortunately, it’s also one of the most polluting methods of transport significantly contributing to global warming.
If your destination is only a 20-minute walk away, why not take a nice walk or bike there? The average vehicle creates roughly 6 to 9 tons of CO2 each year. In contrast, walking reduces your carbon footprint by 75%. Cycling has even a less carbon footprint than riding the bus and less than a tenth of driving emissions.
2. Ride Public Transport
Not only you’ll save a great deal of money by opting for public transport over driving ($ 9,738 per year) it will also allow you to lower your carbon footprint by 4,800 pounds annually. Communities with well-built public transportation systems can lower the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons yearly. To achieve the same results, every household in New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles combined would have to stop using electricity completely.
Riding public transport comes with many other benefits too. For example, you’ll no longer have to deal with bad drivers on the road, will be able to enjoy reading during your commute, and even reduce the daily stress linked to driving.
3. Use Reusable Bottles
Using reusable bottles instead of buying water in plastic bottles will not only help reduce your carbon footprint but reduce plastic pollution and save you some money. Each plastic bottle of water has an estimated 82.8 grams of carbon footprint.
4. Reduce Electricity Usage
Reducing electricity use at home can reduce your carbon footprint. Not that you don’t have to stay away from one of the greatest inventions of humanity, but you’ll have to take small measures. You can turn unnecessary lights in an empty room or never leave lights on when leaving the house, unplug unused electronics, use more natural light, and use LED lights.
5. Do Your Laundry in Full Loads
Have you ever washed a single t-shirt in your washing machine? Or even two pieces of clothes? Just because you want to wear your favorite t-shirt more frequently doesn’t mean you need to power your washing machine. Instead, you should gather several items and do your laundry in full loads. When you need to wash a single item, it’s better to hand wash it. Besides using about 19 billion cubic meters of water annually, washing machines emit an estimated 62 million tonnes of CO2, so use them wisely.
6. Air-Dry Your Clothes
Air-drying your clothes is another effective way to reduce your carbon footprint by an estimated 2,400 pounds a year. Although another great invention of humanity, dryers can contribute to climate change. Besides, they will cost you more than $100 a year on the electricity bill. Plus, air-drying is much easier on your clothes and makes them last longer.
7. Buy Vintage Clothes
Not only are vintage clothes usually cheaper and sometimes way more stylish than new ones, but they can also reduce your carbon footprint.
The fashion industry is a more significant industrial polluter than air travel. It accounts for 10% of global pollution. A single t-shirt from a clothing store produces between 2 and 5 kg of carbon dioxide, so unquestionably, vintage clothes are a great, greener alternative to fast fashion. If most of us were to wear second-hand clothes, the demand for new clothes would significantly decrease, reducing the carbon footprint on a global scale.
Vintage clothes are also usually of a higher quality. If vintage clothing survived decades or even centuries, chances are, it will remain in your wardrobe much longer than a t-shirt from a fast-fashion brand.
8. Reduce Water Usage
Reducing water usage can decrease your carbon footprint. You can do this by turning off the water while brushing or washing dishes or taking shorter showers. Water usage accounts for 5% of all U.S. carbon emissions and is equivalent to the CO2 emissions of over 62 coal-fired power plants.
9. Reduce Meat and Dairy Consumption
Livestock accounts for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, primarily from feed production. Every day you opt for fruits and veggies, you can reduce your carbon footprint by 8 pounds making it 2,920 pounds less annually. You can start doing so by joining Meatless Mondays.
10. Bring Reusable Bags
If you were to use plastic bags on your every grocery store visit, it’d generate about 8.2kg of CO2. Reusable grocery bags have a less negative environmental impact and can help reduce carbon footprint.
The methods above are relatively easy to implement in your daily lives but can have a tremendous effect on climate change and help reduce carbon footprint. Still, if only a few of us make these changes, the impact will not be as significant. Therefore, don’t forget to share the tips above with your friends and family. Also, if you have other methods to reduce your carbon footprint, leave a comment below and help us follow you on a greener road to a better future!