Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Made Easy
Over the past several months, climate change and its effects have become ever-present in American lives. Catastrophic forest fires plague the Western U.S. and to date, more than 5 million acres have burned, displacing tens of thousands of people, and at least 27 are dead. What used to be a polarizing issue is no more. 60% of Americans say they worry about climate change.
But what can one person do about climate change? The problem can feel overwhelming. You try to do your part, but you don’t really know if it is working?
Before we jump into solutions, let’s talk about the problem – human activity creating carbon emissions which in turn heat our planet up.
What is a carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that you produce in your daily life. Scientists argue that if every person were to reduce their carbon footprint, it would in fact slow the heating of our planet resulting in less catastrophic natural disasters and people and animals dying.
The good news is, we have five ways you can take to reduce and/or eliminate your carbon footprint. They are as follows: lower home energy use, change your transportation method, buy environmentally friendly food products, support environmental policies, and offset your carbon footprint by planting trees.
Home energy use
You may not know it, but your home is a huge producer of carbon emissions – and likely costing you money in high utility bills. The good news is there are countless ways to reduce your home’s carbon emissions.
Update to energy-efficient appliances and do some basic home repairs to reduce heat loss during the winter can make a huge difference in reducing your carbon footprint. Have solar panels and a home battery installed to power your home with clean energy. An additional benefit of solar as an energy source is no interruptions to your family’s regular home activities, work-from-home, and distance learning when there are power outages.
Finally, get a smart energy panel to measure and monitor your home energy consumption. Span.io sells this kind of device together with a phone app that allows you to understand and control your home energy even while you are away from your home.
Transportation causes a huge spike in your carbon footprint. The car you drive can majorly impact the emissions you produce.
This means choosing lower-emission transportation options is a great idea to reduce your footprint. This can be done by buying a hybrid vehicle or one that uses only electric power.
Even using electric cars, however, still produces emissions. If available and effective for you, when you can try walking to work, using public transportation, and/or riding your bike. Not only will you reduce your carbon emissions, but you’ll also get in some good exercise!
Friendly Food Products
Buy local, plant-based, organic, and unprocessed foods. Not only will stay healthier and support local farmers: you minimize food waste and reduce emissions as well. Reducing your meat consumption is always an effective approach to reducing your overall carbon footprint, but when you buy meat, make sure it’s from farms that use sustainable farming practices. Check the labels on the packaging. If it doesn’t say sustainable farming, look for an alternative brand. Finally, seek out green restaurants, farmer’s markets, and health food stores to do your part to eat better by going greener.
Support environmental policymakers
Consider choosing candidates that support the health of our environment. Policymakers who support and or have placed policies and regulations for the reduction of greenhouse gases must be on top of our list. Do your own research and find a candidate that has existing greenhouse reduction Initiatives like providing incentives to companies and ordinary citizens who use clean energy to disclose important environmental information and enforcing green policies.
It is important that the government, general public, and private sector cooperate with each other to combat and mitigate the effects of climate change. Policymakers bridge the gap between these three sectors so choosing the right candidates to push for the right policies and regulations is tantamount to driving changes in human behavior in the consumption and production of goods and services.
Offset your carbon footprint by planting trees
The reality is, in order for us to stop climate change we can’t wait for every industry and local, state, and the federal government to make “going green” accessible and easy. The average American creates 34,000 lbs of carbon per year, and the average human lifespan is 80 years! That is a lot of carbon emissions per person. So even if you take the aforementioned step, there are still years of carbon emissions unaccounted for. The good news is there is a solution. Planting trees!
Trees are one of nature’s most powerful and effective ways of pulling carbon out of the air. The best carbon consuming trees, at maturity, take carbon dioxide out of the air at a rate of 50 lbs of carbon per year. These trees live to be 150 – 500 years old. 34,000 lbs of carbon emission per year ÷ 50 lbs of carbon extraction per year = 680 trees to offset your carbon footprint.
You’re probably wondering, how the heck am I going to plant all those trees? That is where CarbonForest comes in. Working with our tree planting partners, we get trees planted on your behalf and give you updates along the way so you can track your impact.
Each one of us has a carbon footprint. These five main steps aren’t the only way to undo your damage on the planet, but they are pretty effective. The most important thing is to start taking steps today to make these changes. Make a phone call to a solar home energy provider, consider alternative modes of transportation, buy local, call your local representative demanding climate change policies, and/or sign up to offset your carbon footprint by planting trees. Once you start taking the steps, we are confident you will feel empowered as you will have made a difference doing your part for the planet.