The trace of the greenhouse gases produced by various human activities is called carbon footprint. Many environmental NGOs around the world estimate that each inhabitant on the planet produces about four tons of CO2 on average each year and according to The Nature Conservancy, we all must reduce our carbon footprints to less than two tons annually by 2050 as it is the best way to make sure that temperatures stop rising and exacerbating climate change. The good news is, it is easy to reduce our carbon footprint. It simply involves making small behavior changes, choosing low carbon travel options, and improving our homes.
You can reduce the amount of waste in the first place by avoiding disposable items like coffee cups and cutlery and buying longer lasting products, e.g. reusable straws. It is also recommended that you go paperless where you can. There are many companies that are happy to send you online receipts, statements, and bills. Also, before you throw anything away, consider whether you can reuse it. Donate unwanted items to charity and try to fix broken items before throwing them in the trash.
Transportation, particularly cars and planes, emit pollutants and damage both the air we breathe and the environment. So, it is recommended that you choose low carbon travel, e.g. walking, cycling, public transport, etc. and limit the use of your car. If you do need to drive, consider switching to an electric vehicle. Electric cars have no tailpipe emissions and much lower carbon dioxide emissions as compared to a diesel or petrol equivalent.
Turn Off and Unplug
Appliances such as microwaves, TVs, and even phone chargers all continue to use electricity unless you turn them off and unplug them from the socket. It’s also a good practice to switch off lights when you leave a room as it helps reduce your carbon footprint and save energy. If you are prone to forgetting to switch off your lights and devices, then it would be a good idea to invest in smart lighting and sockets.
Organic foods are not only a healthier choice for your body, but they are also better for the environment. The good news is, getting started with organic foods doesn’t require you to completely overhaul your diet. You can make simple, small changes, e.g. swapping conventional vegetables and fruits for their organic counterparts, to enjoy the benefits of eating organically.
Grow a Native Plant
The benefits of growing plants have gone beyond being ‘nice to have’ to being considered as the best measure to prevent impending climate disaster. Growing plants is an effective way to offset your carbon emissions as well as improve the environment for the benefit of people, wildlife, and climate. Native plants are particularly important because they co-evolved to support local ecological systems.
These are some simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Following these guidelines is a positive step towards ensuring that our planet is kept safe for future generations.
Photos by: Lucas Allmann, Anete Lusina, Tomas Anton, Kelly Sikkema, Sharon Pittaway, Lara Jameson