Anyone else feel that “going green” is always a nice concept, but almost seems impossible to actually do? Although a change in our habits here and there can be good, it’s hard to see any significant effects unless we really alter our lifestyle. In order to do so, we each need to take responsibility by concentrating on ways to reduce our carbon footprints.
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 throughout their lifetime. 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.
It seems like an impossible task but we can easily reduce our carbon footprint by applying these 10 changes to our lives.
Walk or Ride a Bike
If you are going a short distance, why not walk? Going a little further? Ride a bike! Especially in warmer weather conditions, 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. As an added bonus, it'll help you stay in shape!
Change Your Driving Style
If driving is your only option to get somewhere, then make a few changes to your driving style. 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? Use that vacation time all at once by flying to a destination where you'll spend a week or two, rather than just a weekend. 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.
One way to cut back on high energy costs at home is by making sure your house is properly insulated, as the video below demonstrates.
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 or check out the below video for more information!