If you want to understand how to reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll love this article.
It’s time everybody started doing their part to protect and preserve Mother Earth — and here’s the guide you need to know the basics! It contains proven steps and techniques on how to reduce your carbon footprint and teaches you how to start a green lifestyle.
What is a carbon footprint and why do you need to reduce it?
The concept used to measure the environmental impact of a particular individual, community, company, country or continent is the carbon footprint. This can be seen in the lifestyle or way of working of every unit where the impact on the environment is measured in units of carbon dioxide.
Why focus on carbon dioxide? This is because probably the most dangerous greenhouse gases that causes global warming is carbon dioxide. There are other gases like ozone or methane but they count towards carbon emissions. These gases are converted into carbon dioxide which will cause the same global warming effect. Thus, it becomes the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide.
Carbon footprint is a vital concept for understanding the effects of one’s behavior that leads to global warming. In other words, a person’s carbon emissions are visible when you drive a car, because the engine burns gasoline which emits a specific amount of carbon dioxide.
This is also seen when you run on electricity, because the heat in your home to generate electricity also gives off carbon dioxide. And it also shows when you buy food and other products because their production also emits some amount of carbon dioxide.
In easy terms, your carbon footprint is the cumulative sum of all the carbon dioxide that your activities produce. Usually, one year is used to calculate a person’s carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is made up of two parts — a primary and a secondary footprint.
Adding up all the direct carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels is the main footprint. Secondary footprint, on the other hand, is all the indirect emissions that come from industrial manufacturing (processing, packaging, shipping, and the like) of all services and food that individuals buy or use in industry.
With someone’s knowledge and awareness of their carbon footprint, it makes them more sensitive about how to deal with this problem. It may seem small but big changes normally start with small steps.
When a person takes responsibility for his own carbon emissions and influences his neighbors to do the same, and when his neighbors influence the environment around him, it turns into a domino effect where more people practice it.
And when people reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, they greatly reduce the impact their population’s carbon footprint has on the environment.
The harmful effects of climate change affect the entire world. And due to this, it has become a global concern. Thus, the state and the state must work hand in hand to overcome this problem in order to avoid more damage to Mother Earth.
No matter how small the task or contribution, each individual’s actions matter. With issues like climate change, it’s best dealt with by first focusing on individual household practices and habits.
Instead, as individuals, there are numerous ways to make a difference to the big picture. There are easy steps that not only save or reduce one’s carbon emissions but also help in the conservation of resources. With practice and the strength of the habit, these easy steps will reduce not only your personal carbon footprint but that of your household as well.
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:
Your carbon footprint in food
You may not realize it at first, but you CAN reduce your carbon footprint through the foods you choose to eat. As discussed in the previous section, a secondary source of carbon dioxide emissions comes from the companies or industries responsible for the processing, packaging, shipping, and the like of all products such as food and services that you buy at retailers large and small. or groceries.
In making a conscious decision about this, you can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions through the following examples:
1. Consumption of red meat moderately or less.
Cattle, cattle and sheep traditionally produce red meat. While caring for these animals, they produce large amounts of methane which is also considered one of the greenhouse gases covered in carbon footprint measurements.
On top of that, these animals also consume quite a lot of resources — particularly cows. So they not only emit greater amounts of carbon dioxide, but are also expensive to maintain. With other types of meat such as chicken or pork, the resulting emissions are lower.
This is not to say that red meat should be removed from the diet fully, but it can help if you cut back on the amount you normally eat.
2. Local produce is nice for you.
When you buy local, you aren’t only helping local businesses but also reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This is due to the concept of food miles. Food miles describe how food has been transported to reach a household’s dinner table.
Hence, it counts or measures how much carbon dioxide is emitted during the transportation of these goods. So if you buy products that are produced locally, they normally have lower carbon dioxide emissions because they’re grown locally and do not need to take another way to get to your door.
Compare local products to products delivered to stores from far away: They require more resources to pack and ship. Simply put, local products haven’t got to go far to reach you, while large industrial packaged foods still need to be processed, packaged and transported.
Thus, shopping for local products not only reduces people’s carbon footprint but also helps local economic growth.
3. Make it a habit to buy organic food.
Organic food choices are sometimes not taken into account. But what people do not realize is that growing organic food does not use fertilizer — and fertilizer is normally rich in carbon. Organic foods are also a healthier alternative to packaged foods as they don’t contain the additives and preservatives used in them.
And because it does not use fertilizers and other preservatives, consumers are assured of all the nutrients they get from consuming organic products.
4. Embrace the beauty of an organic garden.
Growing your own food makes you feel contented and relaxed. Its most significant but neglected effect is that it makes you a more conscientious citizen of the world. It is satisfying for the grower as you only need to walk a few steps from your house to pick fresh herbs or vegetables from your garden to prepare your food.
And with this, your own organic garden can even provide your household with substantial cash savings for the future.
Water as a resource
Water is the main resource needed for daily household needs. But it is how you treat it that affects your carbon dioxide emissions into the environment. Here are some ways that not only reduce your carbon footprint but also help in the conservation of water resources.
1. Filter your own drinking water at home.
Most of the families buy bottled water for their consumption. This is because the family thinks that tap water still has microorganisms that can harm their health, so they buy bottled water.
Maybe so, but in filtering their own water for drinking, a household can make quite a lot of savings by not having to buy water in advance. Purified water in plastic bottles is normally made and packaged elsewhere and requires more resources to be transported for sale to the average consumer. In the use of such energy, it emits significant amounts of carbon dioxide.
By filtering your own water at home, you cannot only reduce your carbon footprint and save money, but you can even minimize your use of plastic bottles because plastic is another waste that the environment does not need.
2. Take a shower rather than a shower.
Taking a shower uses a minimum amount of energy compared to having a shower. This is because the bath requires a larger volume of water to fill the tub and more energy to heat the water. Showers use continuous hot spray and if done economically, should use less water as well.
There are also showerheads available on the market that you can install that cater to a “low flow” mechanic that can limit the amount of water used but still maintain a functional spray when you shower.
3. Stop using the pressurized water hose.
In an easy task like washing a car, a person may be capable to reduce their carbon footprint. This can be done by selecting a bucket stuffed with water rather than using a pressurized water hose which also heats the water.
A pressure hose uses a much larger volume of water when you wash your car. Buckets, on the other hand, only use a few liters to wash with the help of your washcloth. And with the last option, it not only saves water but also helps you exercise while carrying a bucket to and fro.
Modes of transportation
In this day and age, a person – most of the time – spends more and more time in a car where the vehicle emits its own amount of carbon dioxide into the environment. And to add all the individuals and their respective cars into the equation, it isn’t hard to look at the volume of carbon dioxide emissions that they cause.
Here are some ways to reduce your carbon footprint when traveling or traveling.
For ground transportation
1. Recognize the benefits of shifting gears faster.
There are gear shifting techniques when you drive a manual car, and they’re one surefire way to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of your vehicle with a manual transmission: Shifting into higher gears is quicker.
This is because by doing so your engine maintains a higher speed without burning as much fuel. And while the engine does not must exert as much power to run, it also reduces carbon dioxide emissions into the air. Not only will you reduce your carbon dioxide emissions, but you will also save money on fuel.
2. A hybrid is your eco-friendly car.
Although hybrid cars are expensive, they’re fuel efficient and emit less carbon dioxide into the air. Most hybrid cars run on clean electricity, so they’re a better alternative to cars that run on petrol and diesel as fuel. And in the long run, you will find that you have more savings as a result of less fuel consumption. In addition to your gas savings, you are also helping the environment through fewer emissions.
3. Pay attention to your driving style.
Most people choose to have a private car to get to their destination more quickly. With that said, individuals who drive their own cars tend to accelerate more.
But when they keep their foot on the accelerator to go faster, they use more fuel and in effect, expel larger volumes of carbon dioxide into the air. This not only wastes fuel and money but also increases one’s carbon footprint.
4. Try carpooling.
As well as fewer cars on the road, carpooling also helps you save money. The costliest car maintenance particularly if you’re the type of person who travels a lot. Carpooling is the best choice (1) where you can get a ride without the trouble of driving yourself and thinking about your own parking area.
There are even countries that are so fully supportive of carpooling that they’ve allotted exclusive carpool lanes on the roads. Now you can save money and have your own line at the same time.
5. Choose public transportation over private transportation.
When more people choose public transport, there will be less cars on the road. With fewer cars, traffic jams on the go are reduced.
Plus, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced because they’re shared between many people using shared public transportation rather than having to drive their own cars. If one bus dispenses 50 lbs. carbon dioxide during the trip while carrying 50 people, then each person on the bus emits only 1 lb of carbon during that time.
On the other hand, with the use of private cars where one person with one car loses 20 lbs. carbon dioxide in the air during the same trip, you can see how choosing public transportation greatly reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
For air transportation
Traveling by plane is usually one of the most costly modes of transportation. This is because airplanes use large amounts of petroleum-based fuel. Therefore, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it’s advisable to avoid flying as much as possible. But what else can you do, fly economy or bus class rather than first-class.
1. Economy class is the better class.
Economy class is best because it works for the same reason as carpooling or public transportation on the ground. Every individual who flies economy class picks up a share of the aircraft’s carbon dioxide emissions during the trip.
Thus, these emissions are lower because they’re distributed to all passengers on the flight. So rather than indulging in first-class or flying private, it would be better if you choose economy class. Again, you aren’t only reducing carbon dioxide emissions but also saving money.
2. Check the purpose of your trip.
When you choose a location for a vacation, choose a place to stay that’s not too far away or where ground transportation is difficult or impossible. It will even be a good experience to drive to your destination, or even to carpool with family and friends.
Either way, vacations do not need a plane ride to be considered good.
Power of choice in electricity
Since electrical power is closely related to the daily life of modernized society, the choice to use it greatly affects the amount of carbon emissions that households contribute to the environment.
So conscious action, no matter how small, will help reduce the carbon footprint a family creates.
Here are some tips to get you started.
1. The ceiling fan overpowers the AC.
An air conditioner is a must-have in any home, particularly during the hot summer months. But choosing to use a ceiling fan rather than an air conditioner is more practical because it uses less electricity and uses less energy, thereby lowering your carbon dioxide emissions.
2. Make it a habit to unplug.
Your gadget works every day for you non-stop. So turning off these gadgets is not only beneficial for your device, but also good in helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is because the connected gadget or equipment still uses a specific amount of electricity even although it’s turned off.
So if a tool or gadget is not getting used, it should be fully removed. That way, you do not use electricity unnecessarily.
3. Laptops are better.
Laptops are known to use much lower energy than desktop computers (2). This is because it’s designed to be energy efficient. Battery life is among the most significant variables considered when a laptop is built and designed.
LCD screens, hard drives, CPUs, and adapters — all of which are energy efficient — make laptops better tools for the planet. And unless a desktop is totally necessary, a laptop is the more practical (and more practical) option.
4. Replace all of your regular light bulbs.
You may not realize it, but a person uses at least 10 light bulbs every day. If you use a regular light bulb, it emits more carbon dioxide because it uses more energy to function. With a CFL or compact fluorescent light bulb, it lasts up to 15 times longer than a regular light bulb.
They also use much less energy. Besides saving energy, CFL lamps are also friendly to your electricity bill.
With regards to light bulbs, it is also a good idea to turn off any lights you are not using and any time you leave the room. Another good alternative to CFL bulbs is LED bulbs, as they use a minimal amount of electricity but provide a bright light — enough for indoor use.
5. Get on board with the clean, renewable energy trend.
Markets around the globe now provide easy-to-install solar panels for household use. Not only does it save money on your utility bill, but it is also an investment that will benefit your home in the long run.
Renewable energy is the new trend for energy. These renewables include solar and hydro-electric to name a few. This is important because even without harmful greenhouse gases, oil, natural gas and coal are limited sources of energy.
With renewable energy, a cleaner type of electricity derived from this technology will now be available to households and will reduce their use of high carbon fuels such as petroleum.
And today, more and more energy suppliers are offering this service. And when more people turn to this type of practice, so will the world
enjoy a cleaner and more carbon-free environment.
6. Choose to buy energy-efficient appliances.
While these appliances are costlier than non-energy efficient ones, you’ll see in the long run that you can offset the price of the savings you make. Investing more in smart technology means investing more in a cleaner future. You aren’t only helping the planet by doing this, but also future generations.
The importance of being constant
The previous paragraphs have mentioned and discussed ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, from home to daily activities. It’s easy to start something but it is harder to stay loyal and constant to a goal or activity. Therefore, you must realize the importance of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from your activities to continue what you have started at home.
If people would focus on reducing their carbon emissions and reducing the emissions led to by the last few decades, everybody might be capable to avoid the detrimental consequences of greenhouse gases and climate change.
To achieve this, the world must support energy technologies that emit little or no carbon dioxide. A study at Princeton University in the United States developed an initiative with the aim of calculating efficient methods for capturing and sequestering carbon emissions from high-carbon fuels.
This study has listed 15 strategies that could significantly reduce global carbon emissions. And depending on how one executes this strategy, one may be capable to undo all the negative effects greenhouse gases have had on the environment so far.
There are three main methods listed for reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The first is the use of energy efficiency and conservation practices that have been mentioned and discussed in the previous section.
The second is the use of carbon-free or carbon-reduced energy resources. And finally, a third method is capturing and storing carbon — either from high-carbon fuels or from the environment.
This article has provided an example of the second method which uses carbon-free or low-carbon energy sources. Carbon-free sources typically produce energy without releasing carbon dioxide into the environment.
These carbon-free energy sources are also called green energy which includes geothermal energy, solar energy, wind power, hydro power, and nuclear power. And to switch from high carbon fuels like coal and petroleum to low carbon fuels like renewables results in reduced carbon dioxide emissions.
The third method is carbon capture and sequestration. This involves the collection and storage of carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere or from high carbon fuels. According to recent studies, carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere.
Once removed, it can be stored in plants and soil to promote plant growth and to nourish the soil. In practice, carbon dioxide is extracted from high-carbon fuels and then stored or stored in the earth.
It’s a method that guides people in their everyday decisions to reduce their carbon footprint — whether it is at school, work, or their career choices. It also shows in something as easy as cooking food too.
Being green and living green isn’t just a choice you make once. On the contrary, it’s a joint and continuous effort in order to preserve and save the environment. To be capable to go about your business without considering something as seemingly insignificant as carbon dioxide emissions is pure selfishness.
You aren’t only endangering your health and the environment today, but also the opportunities for future generations. Going green and living green aren’t only for yourself but also for a better future. So why not start today? Just know that you can do it!
I hope this text can encourage you to reduce your carbon footprint by going green and living green.
The next step is to continue and be consistent with what you have started for a better future! Remember, living green is a choice you must consciously make every day. It’s not a one-time thing, but a series of repetitive motions that should become second nature as you get used to living green.