It’s no secret that the earth is hurting. While it can feel overwhelming to grapple with our consumption and our insurmountable impact on the environment, what we can do… is make actionable steps to decreasing our carbon footprint in the way we move through our every day. While a lasting impact will require big moves on a global scale, below are some tips for things you can do now. Please take a quick read and share with your friends. A lot of change can begin with a simple conversation.
According to a 2017 study from Lund University and the University of British Columbia, going carless for a year could save 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide! Whenever possible, reduce trips and carpool. Blasting the air conditioning and weighing your car down with cargo unnecessarily are also actions that make your vehicle’s emissions creep up. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, consider cars that have a “Smart Way” certificate. Hybrids and electronic vehicles are also more accessible than ever. Many cars with lower emissions can even end up costing less to operate.
AVOID FAST FASHION
Fast fashion is an unfortunate reality of our modern world. Not only does this cause a lot of excess waste in materials from these companies but also since the garments are produced overseas it takes a lot of fossil fuels to get them over here. So when in doubt try thrifting, buying vintage, pick up a new skill and take up sewing your own garments. If you have a penchant for something new, checking out USA made, sustainable clothing brands like For Days and LA Relaxed.
Do some research on how to properly recycle. We all could use a refresher especially on certain household items such as batteries, computers, light bulbs, empty aerosol cans. Whenever you have electronics that still work, try donating them and if all else fails, learning how to properly recycle something for a better environmental impact is only a google search away. In the United States, we generate roughly 258 million tons of trash a year, 169 million tons of which ends up in landfills and incinerators, as reported by E.P.A. in 2014. Make sure to check for a number inside a triangle on the bottom of plastic containers. These numbers are an indication of what kind of resin was used, and whether the container is recyclable in your state.
GROCERY SHOP GREENER
Grocery shopping is an area where simple changes can go a long way in decreasing your carbon footprint. Make sure to buy in bulk, buying items you know you need, such as non-perishables, is a great way to reduce the amount of trips you need to take to the store and the amount of plastic containers you consume. Another tip is to make sure to purchase your food/produce locally and only what is in season. Try out more plant based recipes. Cutting down on your meat consumption helps significantly reduce your carbon footprint, especially red meat. Beef in comparison to other animals takes far more land to keep them fed and uses copious amounts of fertilizer to keep the appropriate amount of grass for them to feed on which releases large amounts of CO2 into the environment. Also cattle on their own produce large amounts of methane gas due to the way their bodies digest food. So you don’t have to go completely vegan but the planet will thank you for not having meat with every meal.
UN-PLUG IT ALL
Some of the easiest ways to cut down on your carbon footprint are in your own house. Make sure to turn off and unplug any electronics when they are not being used. Using your heat and air conditioning less frequently makes a huge difference. Also make sure your home is well insulated with weatherstripping and close out all of your heating and cooling ducts. If you haven’t already, switch to all LED light bulbs. LED bulbs are more affordable than ever and have a great lifespan. Finally, try washing your clothes in only cold water and air drying them. Over time it will lengthen the lifespan of your clothing as well.