Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. How can we reduce our carbon footprint and embrace a more sustainable lifestyle? There are several actions an individual can take to reduce its impact on the environment.
From eating less meat or carpooling to switching to renewable energies or donating to environmental organizations, reducing your carbon footprint can be achieved in many ways. We have gathered some of those solutions to lessen your impact on the planet and help fight climate change.
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What’s the carbon footprint?
The carbon footprint measures the impact of our activities in terms of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane). You can measure the carbon footprint of a person, a company, or an event.
It’s important to know the number of greenhouse gases we emit for every action because those gases contribute to climate change by raising the temperature on the surface of the earth.
How to reduce your carbon footprint?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the best way to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce greenhouse gases is to save energy or use cleaner sources of energy. Such measures help fight the climate changes we are currently facing.
- Insulate and seal your home with Energy Star-certified windows and doors. That will help keep a stable temperature in your home regardless of the season and save you money on your energy bills.
- Shift to renewable energies like solar panels, wind, and hydropower to power your house. Renewable energies are indefinitely replenished by natural processes and are usually cleaner to obtain than fossil energies like fuels.
- Switch to energy-efficient appliances. Search for the WaterSense label on dishwashers or clothes washers, it’s EPA approved.
- Replace your lights with LEDs. LEDs use about 85% less energy than regular light bulbs and last longer.
- Purchase sustainable or second-hand furniture to decorate your home. For more details, you can check our article about Sustainable Furniture Brands.
- Turn down your thermostat at night or when you are not home.
- Prefer greener transportation such as walking, biking, public transportation, or carpooling. Cars and trucks in the US are responsible for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions according to a scientific study.
- If you cannot spare your car, here are some tips to reduce your greenhouse gas emission: drive smartly which means go easy on the brakes and the gas, maintain your car to avoid energy losses, and avoid air conditioning when you can.
- If you are in the process of changing cars, choose an energy-efficient vehicle – use the SmartWay certification guide to help your researches. You can also consider a hybrid or electric car, depending on your needs.
- For distances under 500km, prefer the train or the bus to the plane.
- Choose a direct flight. Direct flights emit less greenhouse gas than connecting ones.
- You can offset your carbon emissions when flying, here’s a great guide that explains it all.
- Eat less meat, animals such as cows consume a lot of water and create carbon emissions.
- Buy local and seasonal products, this way you can support your local farmers and reduce the carbon emissions from their transport.
- Buy only what you need and try to avoid wasting food by planning meals or freezing leftovers.
- Use tote bags instead of plastic ones. Nowadays many alternatives to plastic exist.
- Ban single-use plastics, and replace them with reusable stainless steel water bottle or bamboo utensils for example.
- Buy second-hand clothing, the fashion industry consumes a lot of energy for the creation of new items.
- Ban fast fashion brands, instead pick eco-friendly brands focused on sustainable materials and ethical production.
- Invest in quality clothing, they will last longer. Try to repair them when possible.
- Recycle your clothes or donate them.
- Donate to carbon offset programs such as Clear or Myclimate.
- Plant trees with One Tree Planted. The company’s goal is to plant millions of trees to fight climate change. Indeed, trees help clear the air we breath by releasing oxygen and eliminating CO2 (responsible for warming the earth’s surface).
- Support a charity for environmental protection.
- Vote for your local ecological party.
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