Your carbon footprint is an easy way to measure the negative impact your actions are having on the environment. Global warming is a problem transcending man-made boundaries and it is best dealt with by a united front. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t individually help the environment. Every effort counts when we are at the tipping point. But what can we do? There are a lot of small things that we are capable of doing individually every day to ensure that our planet and our collective future are secure. Even if we are not ready to give up on all air travel or meat, here are a few easy-to-follow ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
How to Reduce Carbon Footprint?
To put it simply, a carbon footprint is the amount of all greenhouse gases are being emitted into the atmosphere as a result of our actions. These calculations can be done for the life of an individual, for a region, for a specific organization, events, or within any such parameter. People are voicing their concerns about the climate change crisis and tackling it in ways that could set an example. While climate change activists like Greta Thunberg are riding high waves to save the planet, literally and figuratively, and students are skipping schools on Fridays for Future, here are a few easy things you should consider to reduce your carbon footprint.
The 5 Rs
You have probably already heard about Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, which has been around as a mantra for sustainable living for a while now. Taking it a notch higher is the additions of refuse and repurpose, making it into a more wholesome idea 5 Rs. We, as consumers, are being assaulted and overwhelmed with products at the moment. Upon some introspection, most of us end up concluding that we don’t really need all that we buy. We also end up throwing out stuff in the garbage, when it could be recycled and repurposed with a bit of an effort. Taking up the 5 Rs could help you in more ways than only reducing your carbon footprint.
Eat Local and Seasonal
When buying groceries, consider opting for seasonal and local produce. Buying local means you are reducing the need for food imports, which translates a small step into a big, positive change for the planet. This is not only good for the environment but can also be good for your health. It introduces variety in your diet, supports the local economy, and reduces the cost to the environment.
The flexitarian diet is not as complicated as it sounds. Also described as semi-vegetarianism, it requires practitioners to center their diet on vegetarian food while reducing the use of meat and opting for it only occasionally. This is an easy step forward if you don’t feel too confident about turning vegan or giving up meat overnight. If you are looking for some inspiration, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, who is also a Global Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Programme, is fully vegan. You can start by giving up on eating meat once or twice a week and opt for a vegan or vegetarian meal. Bonus points if it uses all local produce.
Be a Smart Shopper
We already talked about how the abundance of products in the market is overwhelming and seems to have reached saturation. In times like this, it is easier and even important to be a smart shopper. Fast fashion doesn’t last and isn’t a better economical choice either. Moreover, it costs the planet. Instead, opt for pieces that will last you longer. Declutter and reorganize your wardrobe, donate or recycle what you don’t see yourself wearing. Repurpose and upcycle, if you can. For your next shopping trip, consider shopping second-hand, vintage, or upcycled clothes. Who knows what classic gems you might find?
Making a Green Commute
Imagine your daily commute. If it is filled with thoughts of traffic and boredom alone in your car, it is time to switch it up, don’t you reckon? The best way to help the environment and yourself is to start by cycling or walking to work, once in a while if not every day. If that seems a bit impractical, consider using public transport or carpool with your friends. Giving up your car or motorbike might not be feasible for everyone at the moment. Instead, consider reducing the number of trips your car is making.
Reduce Water Wastage
We may enjoy long showers in the hot months and hot baths in the cold winters, but how about a little moderation? While we ideally recommend that you look into reducing water wastage to zero, it can’t happen right away. Instead, start by reducing your shower times. Also, reducing the temperature of your hot water can help you reduce your carbon footprint. To sum it up, take shorter, cooler showers.
Be Energy Efficient
When buying electronics around the house, ensure you are choosing products that are certified energy efficient. They will go a long way toward reducing your carbon footprint. Choose a laptop over a desktop if you are buying a new one. Print less, share more. Buy as little as possible. After all, minimalism is the new ‘luxury’.
Measure your Success
Finally, calculate your carbon footprint. Keep a track of how you can help the environment and how you already are. With each measure you adopt, you will surely be helping the environment
How to Calculate Your Carbon Footprint?
There are several websites today which can help you calculate your carbon footprint, giving insight into whether you are living green or not. All it takes is a few minutes and the vast extent of the internet to fetch you some astute answers. One such easy online carbon footprint calculator is provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency on their website here.
Many websites divide these calculators into sections such as your travel footprint, or your footprint as a household, how your fashion or makeup choices are costing the environment, or even your general shopping and food habits. You can easily get onto one of these avenues to check your environmental contributions to the section you are most concerned about or get an overall picture. Based on these results, you can decide upon the areas of improvement and take measures accordingly.
Reducing your carbon footprint can be the beginning of your efforts towards a healthier planet and a better future. Start small today with easy ways.