Carbon emissions are unavoidable if you do not reduce your carbon footprint. By offsetting those emissions, you can do your bit to reduce the effects of climate change before it is too late.
What Is A Carbon Footprint?
Your ‘carbon footprint’ is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that arise from the production, use, and end of life of a service or a product. In this case, the most notorious emission is carbon dioxide; others include methane, fluorinated gases, and others contributing to global warming. Most of that footprint comes from basic necessities such as housing, food, and transport.
To determine your carbon footprint, you need to know:
- The total energy usage in your home.
- Your dietary composition.
- The money you spend shopping.
- The miles you travel by car, motorbike, plane, etc.
Top 4 Ways to Reduce Carbon Emissions Efficiently
Our planet is in peril, and you have the power to stop its decline. Here are some things you can do to stem the tide and ensure a healthy planet for future generations:
1. Reduce Meat and Dairy in Your Diet
Did you know that livestock and their subsequent byproducts are responsible for more than 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions? This is far more than transportation. What is alarming is that emissions from animal agriculture are predicted to increase 80% in the next 30 years unless sustainable alternatives are introduced or adopted.
Besides rising greenhouse gas levels, these emissions are also responsible for Amazon deforestation on a massive scale. The result is a significant loss of grazing feed and land crops, leading to the extinction of plant life, insects, and animal species.
All is not lost. With an increase in the range of vegan and vegetarian options in restaurants and stores, more and more people are reducing their meat and dairy consumption. However, if that is not feasible for you, you can still do your part by sticking to wild meat, choosing white over red meat, shopping seasonally, and reducing food waste.
2. Stop Using Single-Use Plastics
You need to do more than recycle tin cans and reuse empty sauce jars to reduce your carbon footprint today. To make a notable impact, you need to remove plastic from your life. This includes single-use plastics that are choking the life out of marine life. These include plastic straws, cups, lids, bottles, packaging, cutlery, and shopping bags.
300 million tons of these are produced on an annual basis, and without the solution, the emissions from the production of these plastics can consume 17% of the world’s carbon budget. Here are some ways you can reduce your use of these harmful items:
- Take reusable bags with you when you shop.
- Carry reusable water bottles rather than plastic ones.
- Use reusable food containers made of wheat straw rather than plastic varieties.
- Say no to single-use stirrers and utensils.
- Choose bamboo toothbrushes.
- Invest in bulk groceries to reduce your use of plastic bags and packaging.
- Purchase eco-friendly cosmetics only.
3. Don’t Buy ‘Fast’ Fashion
Cheap and ‘trendy’ fashion is overflowing from our landfills. As these decompose, they give off methane which only harms the environment and contributes to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Since most fast-fashion products are shipped from overseas, it eats up a lot of fossil fuels before it gets to the US. Reduce those emissions by purchasing sustainable, quality clothing that is made locally. You can also get great vintage pieces at cost-efficient prices.
4. Wash Clothes in Cold Water
The enzymes in detergent dissolve easily in cold water compared to hot water. If you wash your clothes in warm water, you add about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide to the environment each year. Reduce your laundry loads to two times a week and use only cold water to wash it to reduce harmful emissions. About Jillian Hishaw
Jillian Hishaw is a MacArthur Foundation recipient and has over 20 years of experience in speaking, writing, and agricultural law. She has worked extensively as an environmental planner for a local city and aided the US Department of Agriculture in the same vein. Hishaw has a Bachelor of Science degree, Juris Doctorate, and LL.M.