We hear it time and time again that we need to reduce our carbon footprint. Do you really know what your carbon footprint is though? It’s the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that is emitted into the atmosphere through human activities, such as burning fossil fuels or wood, industrial waste, and the energy consumption of regular household appliances. So, what makes this dangerous?
Simply put, atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have already had hazardous effects. The impact of our collective carbon footprint has led to ozone layer depletion, rising sea levels, warming oceans, extreme temperature swings around the world, and more. Furthermore, air pollution has also drastically increased, which is a large contributor to acid rain. This acidity inevitably puts our marine life in danger, as well as others. Unfortunately, as CO2 levels rise, so do inevitable health issues like breathing disorders, migraines, and beyond.
Luckily, our world has natural carbon sinks including trees, oceans, vegetation, and other organisms which use photosynthesis to remove carbon from the atmosphere. That’s the good news. The bad news, however, is that we consistently produce more CO2 than these natural sinks can absorb. If this continues, the damage will be irreversible. So, how can you make a change? Here are five tips to decrease your carbon footprint.
1. Minimize Car Use
Are you going a short distance in town? Consider swapping the car for a healthy walk or bike ride. Not only is this great for you physically, but it also decreases the CO2 emissions of your vehicle. If you have a commute within a city, you could swap your personal vehicle for public transport. The more people that carpool or use public transport, the fewer emissions will be released into the atmosphere.
If you absolutely need to use your personal car, make sure you keep your tires at optimal inflation. This improves your car’s mileage (great for the budget) and reduces C02 emissions (great for the environment). Also, make sure you perform routine maintenance and upkeep. The older your car gets, the more risk there is for faulty emissions. Taking care of those before they happen help both you and our environment.
2. Use Solar Energy Panels
Most homeowners can attest that their electricity bill is often a pain point. You’ve probably noticed that your electricity bill fluctuates, but it’s generally on the rise. We recommend that if you’re looking to go green and lower your carbon footprint, consider installing solar panels.
While it does require an up-front investment, you’ll see a noticeable reduction in your electricity bills. Over time, it’s a cost-effective way for you to reduce carbon and emissions. The cost up front will actually cost less than the sum of your yearly electric bills.
3. Support Reforestation Organizations
As mentioned before, forests are natural sinks that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, which converts it into oxygen. We’re realistic here. Planting trees in your backyard isn’t always the most feasible plan. However, you can still take ownership in reducing your carbon footprint by supporting reforestation efforts.
Buzzmove recently partnered with Trees for Life to set up its own grove in the U.K. because it offers an opportunity to work towards being carbon neutral. Their goal is to plan 2,160 trees in their own grove by the end of 2018, and they’re committed to donating at least five trees per month. With the goal of carbon-neutral removals, they’re asking that other similar businesses commit to planting trees in their grove, as well.
Remember, the change isn’t solely dependent on you. It is, however, dependent upon you stepping up to do your part. Then, consider encouraging your neighbors, friends, and family to step up and support these efforts, as well. Change starts with us wanting to make a difference.
4. Consider Your Food Choices
You’ve probably heard the buzz about organic food by now. It goes far above and beyond that, alone, though. Try to purchase products that minimize the use of plastic. If you search the hashtag “plastic-free,” you’ll find a lot of great information on how you can support companies looking to make a difference.
We always recommend you think about how you consume foods, as well. If you use fresh food quickly, opt for these choices over canned and bulk processed foods. It takes extensive time and energy to produce and package canned and processed foods vs. whole alternatives like oats, bananas, and spinach. In fact, the production and food supply chain account for an estimated 19% of the energy used within the United States each year.
You may also want to consider cutting down on meat consumption for a number of reasons. Raising animals for food requires land, food, energy, and water – and poor conditions can lead to extreme animal suffering. If you do eat meat products, we recommend organic and small-farm products that have a lower carbon footprint and treat animals more humanely. Consider supporting local farms, making food at home, and storing it yourself in glass containers to reduce your impact over time.
5. Remember Your Products
Whenever possible, we encourage people to opt for organic and natural products. You want to make sure that when you reduce your carbon footprint in some ways, you do so in your home, as well. The real power to make change lies in our everyday choices. Consider alternatives to chemical-laden products that inevitably end up in our water or landfills. Above all else, remember what you’re putting in and on your body – and your children.
Lots of companies are producing cleaner alternatives to harsh lotions and cleaning products. They’re sold in recyclable or reusable packaging, and you can feel comfortable using them for the whole family. And, by harnessing the power of natural ingredients, they’re offering a great solution to a long-term problem.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Creates Change
Going green is more affordable than you might think, and it is possible for you to make a difference. Simply by changing your small daily actions, you can create a ripple of change that trickles down through the generations. Remember to read labels, be diligent, and opt for quality over quantity.