Americans aren’t good at being green. In fact, even the greenest Americans have a carbon footprint that’s twice the global average.
That’s right, the lowest emitters of carbon in the US are doubly damaging to the environment compared to the per-capita average of the rest of the world.
Clearly, there’s room for improvement.
But it’s not just America. Governments around the world are facing mounting pressure to address their environmental impact. Indeed, if you believe 97% of climate scientists who tell us there’s a global warming issue, then something needs to happen. And soon.
Must Read: 15 Ways You Can Help to Save the Environment
Now’s the time to start reducing our carbon footprint.
Change often starts at the bottom though. All of us have a responsibility to live greener lives. Everyone must step up if we’re to see positive eco-friendly change. But how do you do it?
Keep reading to discover the top ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Essential Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint the Easy Way
Each of us could afford to be a little greener in our ways. Here are 7 methods for doing just that.
Did you know that eating meat is awful for the environment?
The average American lives a carnivorous life. We just love our meat. Give us a beef burger, bacon sandwich, rack of ribs or a juicy steak, and we’re happy bunnies. But it might be time to rethink what we put on our plate. The problems with a meat-heavy diet are numerous and extreme.
Let’s take beef as our case and point.
Cattle farming is big in this country. But cows (and other animals) release insane amounts of methane into the environment. Likewise, you have to create the pasture for the cows. That requires chopping down giant swathes of native bush to make space.
Then there’s the water and grain required to rear them. Every burger you eat is worth 2 months of showering. That food and water could be used to feed and water the millions of malnourished humans around the world.
Oh, and then you have the massive amounts of waste they produce. This gets washed into waterways and pollutes the environment. On top of all that there are the animal welfare issues that abound. But that’s a problem for another post.
It isn’t easy. After all, this is the diet most of us are raised on. But making the effort to eat less meat would be a major boon to doing your bit for the environment. You could get healthier in the process too!
Eat Seasonal, Local and Organic Produce
People enjoy having all the food they want at all times of the year.
Globalization, modern agriculture, and international trade relations have combined to enable produce to be imported and exported around the world. Go to any well-known supermarket and you can usually buy exactly the same product all year-round.
But this is only a relatively recent development. In the past, you’d buy and eat only what you could grow in your country, at that particular time of year. That’s the more natural way.
Remember, produce that doesn’t grow in your country must be transported from elsewhere. Those tomatoes you know and love and expect to eat have been shipped thousands of miles around the world to get to your store. That’s bad news for the environment.
Reverting to a seasonal, local and organic diet can make a significant difference to your carbon footprint.
Buy fruit and veg that grows at the current time of year. Buy food that hasn’t been shipped for miles. And buy products that haven’t been sprayed with masses of chemicals to grow properly.
That’ll all go some way to reduce carbon emissions.
Use Public Transport
These days everyone has a car.
It’s common for some households to have two, three, or even four cars to their name. But, as we all know, driving is bad for the environment.
Traditional petrol and diesel cars release serious levels of CO2. Indeed, cars account for 12% of total CO2 emissions from the European Union.
Wherever possible, people should opt to leave the car at home. Public transport is far better for the environment. Taking the bus, tram, train, or metro helps to share the carbon load. One step up from that is riding a bike, or walking! Obviously, these options are better for your health too!
Electric cars are a positive development in the car industry. However, the energy required to produce the car may actually be more than the energy it saves through its usage. They end up perpetuating the problem they’re trying to solve.
Take Fewer Flights
Airplanes are some of the biggest vehicular pollutants in the world.
Every single flight is responsible for tonnes and tonnes of fuel being pumped into the air. And hundreds of thousands of flights occur every single day. Together, that amounts to a significant contributor to the world’s CO2-related problems.
Look for alternative ways to get to your destination. Ask yourself whether you really need to fly. Take vacations closer to home. See if you can take the train, or bus instead.
Unfortunately, flying is usually the cheapest and easiest way of getting from A to B. But it’s classic supply and demand.
Trains are often the best replacement for long distance travel. But they take time and are often exorbitantly expensive. However, if more people boycott air travel and express interest in railways, then companies will begin to take note. Prices come down accordingly. And, as investment in train-tech increases, travel times reduce too.
Your carbon footprint reductions could start at home.
Some relatively small changes to a household can have a positive impact. For example, changing your lightbulbs can reduce the amount of power you consume each month.
Traditional incandescent bulbs are inefficient. They get hot, thereby wasting much of the energy they take. Try to replace them with modern light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LED strip lights and ordinary bulbs constitute an investment. They cost substantially more upfront. However, they last an insanely long time and use a fraction of the energy.
Other household alterations include improving the insulation in your house, washing your clothes in cold water, and unplugging electronics when they’re not in use.
Solar power could well replace traditional energy sources.
Indeed, fossil fuels have long been used to power our lives. But they’re costly to the environment. Coal, oil, and gas are all finite resources that actually require energy to mine, drill, and tap into. They also emit hefty amounts of harmful CO2 into the atmosphere when they’re used.
Renewable energy sources are essential to a well-functioning future. Solar technology is one example of a green energy solution. The sun is a natural resource. It costs nothing to harness its power. With solar panels in place, there are no harmful emissions either.
Why not have solar panels installed on your home? You’ll reduce your monthly bills, and have constant access to eco-friendly energy in the process.
When it comes to the environment, less is usually more.
That’s why ‘reduce’ is inevitably emphasized in go-green campaigns. In a material world, we could all do with consuming less all-around.
Generally speaking, the more we produce, the more we waste. Constant buying perpetuates a culture of production. And all that production has an impact.
The world usually suffers from the extraction of its resources. Then it suffers some more in the production process. The struggle continues when the end-result is shipped halfway around the world. Then, when the product’s broken or overused, it gets chucked into a landfill. And something else gets bought as a replacement.
If you are going to shop ‘til you drop, then spend your money in stores with a green, environmentally-conscious approach. Some companies take special care to reduce their carbon footprint. They offset their emissions, donate to charity, and use renewable resources wherever possible. Boycott the companies that don’t.
Fast-fashion is another shopping-related faux pas for your carbon footprint. Those cheap-as-chips products you enjoy buying come at a price. They’re discarded in a flash. It’s effectively like throwing away all the energy that went into making and distributing them.
Remember, reduce, re-use, and recycle. Don’t buy things you don’t need. And don’t throw anything away unnecessarily.
Time to Wrap Up
There you have it: 7 essential ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
The world is on the brink of an environmental disaster. People everywhere need to start making active changes to reduce their carbon footprint. The US, in particular, has a job on its hands.
Thankfully, there are relatively straightforward ways to have a significant positive impact. With a bit of hard work and a willingness to alter current practices, we can all become greener people.
Hopefully, the information here has shown you how to do it!
Did you like this piece? Looking for more ways to live a more sustainable life? Click here to learn 5 clever ways to reuse your plastic bottles.