Anyone else feel that “going green” is always a nice concept, but almost seems impossible to actually do? Although one change in our habits can be good, it’s hard to see any real significant change unless we make multiple lifestyle changes. In order to do so, we each need to take responsibility by concentrating on ways to reduce our carbon footprints.
If you aren’t sure what that is, a carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (or other carbon compounds) that are emitted to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person. Although this type of calculation seems more important for businesses or organizations to be aware of, it’s just as important that we as individuals are aware of our own consumption of fossil fuels.
Seems like an impossible task, to watch our consumption? Not true! We easily can reduce our carbon footprint by taking the following 10 changes and applying them to our lives.
Walk or Ride a Bike
If you are going a short distance, why not ride your bike or walk? Especially with the warmer weather, it’s relaxing to walk or ride a bike while enjoying the sunshine. Instead of taking your car, leave an hour earlier for your destination and get a bit of exercise in.
Change Your Driving Style
If driving is your only option to get somewhere, then change your driving style instead. There is no need for speeding or unnecessary acceleration. Reducing your mileage will decrease gas waste and money costs, while decreasing your footprint.
Even though traveling is a joy, instead of traveling multiple times in the year, why not take one long trip? Fly to a location, spend a week or two instead of just a weekend, by finally taking that vacation time. When you do need a weekend off, get creative without travel! Try “staycations” (vacations at home), or explore your hometown instead of traveling elsewhere.
Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
It’s no surprise that fossil fuels are constantly being consumed when using your furnace, air conditioning unit, dishwasher or refrigerator. Research and find some new appliances that are created to be more energy efficient.
Use Less Lights
There’s no need to leave lights on when you aren’t around. Get in the habit of turning off lights when you leave rooms, or buy new light bulbs that are incandescent or LED lights.
Warm weather means farmers markets and fresh food! Yes, it can be a bit more expensive to buy organic foods. But when you think about how 13 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are specifically from transporting your food, or how that transported food requires petroleum-based fuels and fossil fuel-based fertilizers, you may start to see it differently.
Plant Climate-Appropriate Plants
Instead of continuing to plant new flowers or other types of plants that require lots of water and care, try finding climate-appropriate plants that require less water. Plus, there is no work to replant them each year, so less work for you.
Use Less Water
Lower your water use by showering in shorter spans, wash your car less, and try to avoid using heated water as much as possible. Another great option is purchasing water-efficient appliances such as shower heads, faucet heads, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines, that will help the cause.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This one you most likely have heard over, and over, and over again. But it’s so important for your carbon footprint. Try carrying around your own water bottle instead of buying a new plastic one each day. If you use anything plastic, paper or glass, there almost always is an option to recycle somewhere. Take advantage of it.
Measure Your Carbon Footprint
It’s good to be aware of your carbon footprint, and may also be great to see changes you make and how they are making a difference. Try this Carbon Footprint Calculator on COTAP.org. Bookmark it and return back to it every few months. You may start to experience a difference when you start making some serious changes!