You might not realize it, but your everyday choices have a big impact on the environment. From the food you eat to the way you get around, the things you do (or don't do) can add up to a lot of carbon emissions. But what exactly are carbon emissions? And why should you care about reducing them?
Here's a quick breakdown.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas that's released when we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. CO2 emissions trap heat in the atmosphere, which contributes to global climate change. That might not sound like such a big deal, but rising temperatures can cause everything from more extreme weather events to melting polar ice caps. So, reducing your carbon footprint is essential for safeguarding our planet's future.
It can be disheartening for an ordinary person to think about the enormity of climate change and what needs to be done to fix it. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to do your part in achieving a net-zero future.
Let's go over six seemingly small changes that can have an impact when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint:
Eating Less Meat and Dairy
Before you gloss over this option, consider also the health benefits. Meat and dairy contribute to leaky-gut, which is the source of much sickness and some disease.
The livestock industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for about 14.5% of all human-induced emissions, according to estimates obtained in 2019. As demand for meat and dairy products continues to rise around the world, so too does the livestock industry's contribution to climate change.
You can help reduce these emissions by making some simple changes to your diet. One easy way is to cut down on the amount of meat and dairy you consume. Meatless Mondays are a great way to start by going meat-free one day a week. If you're not ready to give up meat at all, you can also try to source your meat and dairy from sustainable and environmentally friendly farmers.
If you live in an urban area, there's a good chance you have ways to reduce your driving. Walking, biking, and taking public transportation are all great alternatives to driving that can help reduce your carbon footprint. If you do need to drive, try carpooling or riding sharing when possible. You can also look into hybrid or electric cars, which have much lower emissions than gas-powered vehicles.
Opting for Renewable Energy
Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power are becoming increasingly popular as they become more affordable. If you're interested in switching to renewable energy, there are a few different options available to you. Many utilities now offer green energy plans that allow you to source your electricity from renewable sources such as solar power. Many states provide concessions for installing solar panels on your home or business.
Recycling and Composting
When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, recycling and composting are two of the most important things you can do. Recycling helps to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills while composting helps to keep food and other organic materials out of landfills. Both of these things can help to reduce methane emissions, which are a major contributor to climate change.
Supporting Sustainable Businesses
Many businesses are working to reduce their carbon footprint and operate more sustainably. When you can, try to support these businesses by purchasing their products. You can also look for businesses that are certified by organizations like LEED or the Carbon Neutral Business Network.
To ensure that the businesses you're supporting are actually sustainable, do some research before you make a purchase. Some things you may want to check out include:
- How efficient they are - For example, if you're a retailer, choosing a shipper with efficient shipping routes means fewer emissions from transport.
- How they power their facilities - If a business uses renewable energy, that's a big plus.
- Whether or not they offset their emissions - Many businesses now offset their emissions by investing in carbon-reduction projects. This helps to ensure that they're not just greenwashing their operations.
- Opting for companies with sustainable office practices - Things like remote working and getting rid of paper timesheets can help to reduce a business's emissions. Try to find companies that take extra steps to be sustainable.
- Looking for programs that a business ascribes to – like “Buy One. Plant One.”®
Choosing Sustainable Materials and Products
Opting for sustainable materials and products is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Whenever possible, try to choose products that are made from recycled materials or that can be reused or recycled. You can also look for products that are made from sustainable materials like bamboo or organic cotton.
Wood is a renewable resource that helps to sequester carbon dioxide, which means it plays an important role in mitigating climate change. In addition, wood products are often made with recycled or reclaimed wood, which reduces the need to harvest new trees.
So when you next need to buy a new product, consider choosing one made from sustainable wood—it’s good for the environment, and it might just help you sleep a little better at night knowing you’re doing your part to protect our planet.
The way we live our lives has a direct impact on the environment. The choices we make every day can either contribute to environmental destruction or help preserve our planet for future generations.
There are many things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle. From recycling and composting to supporting businesses that are working to be more sustainable, each one of us can make a difference. So what small change will you make today to bring about a zero-carbon future that benefits us all?
A big Thank You to Bash Sarmiento our guest post author. He is an educator and writer, you can follow him here on Instagram!
If you're looking for more information on simple steps for YOU to take, making an effort to live more sustainably, visit our blog for more informational articles. We'll also take you shopping for ways to easily switch out your current decor & kitchen gadgets for those more ecofriendly.
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