Climate change indeed is an overwhelming subject in itself, the science behind it is as complex as it gets. As there are still many unknown facts and figures to explore while real positive results might require a change on a global level. Although globalizing a change needs a huge amount of leadership, you can make minor changes in your day-to-day life to keep a personal impact on the depleting environment.
Here are some of the tips that will walk you through some of the areas to reduce your carbon footprint.
What is Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted from a certain production or service. It includes several polluting gases, carbon being the most dominant and thus, the name carbon footprint. It also includes gases like methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. Another set of carbon footprints is also generated through housing, transportation, food sectors, and so on.
What Is Carbon Neutrality and Why Does It Matter?
Carbon Neutrality is an initial process to achieve a Zero carbon footprint. The method emphasizes replacing or offsetting carbon-emitting elements with eco-friendly elements on a smaller level. For achieving a zero-carbon future, being carbon neutral is the first step. For example – instead of buying a water heater you can exchange it with a solar water heater, to reduce your carbon footprint by a considerable grade.
A growing carbon footprint is leading to climate change and is increasing the co2 emission per capita. These emissions are thus, pointing towards a climatic emergency up to an extent of no escape. Therefore, carbon neutrality will play a paramount in the coming years.
Calculating Your Carbon Capture and Emission
You can start the process of calculating your carbon footprint by gauging your use, with the help of a carbon footprint calculator. A carbon footprint calculator helps in weighing your co2 emission per capita by measuring your travel distances, energy usage in the house, expenditure on shopping, and diet composition.
Carbon offset gold standard or Gold Standard for the Global Goals is a logo certification mark for non-governmental projects to generate carbon emission reduction in various climatic and development-oriented interventions. This is one such method that you can adopt to create carbon neutrality within your domain of area. Carbon offsetting, Carbon footprint calculators, etc are some of the easiest ways to be environmentally conscious.
No matter what your score is, here are some of the things that could help in lessening your negative impact on the environment.
Walking over Driving
November 2017 was the year when carbon dioxide emissions due to transporting had surpassed emissions from electricity generation as one of the top sources that produce greenhouse gases. Why? Because electricity generation and processes are shifting from the use of finite resources like coal to infinite resources like natural gas. If you decide to go car-less for a year you could save almost 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide on your front. According to a study held at the University of British Columbia and Lund University, these numbers are more than a round trip of a transatlantic flight.
So, how can we stop using a car? Just take a train, bus, or well, just shift to riding a bike which enables a zero carbon footprint. But let’s be realistic here, it is not entirely possible to never use a car.
Here are some of the tips you can keep in mind to make your car trips more climate oriented
- Regular servicing of your car can be a good method to keep it efficient and smooth over time.
- Carbon emissions reduction can be possible through efficient driving by using lesser brakes, thus avoiding the wastage of unnecessary gas or fuels.
- Keeping your tires in check by keeping them pumped correctly can be a good method to reduce your carbon footprint
- Cut down on the air conditioning and city driving as possible to save your carbon footprint. Since cities tend to be crowded, driving a bike would any day save your time and well, your carbon footprint!
- Prefer Carpooling over single-use by splitting the emissions.
- Just buy a Tesla!
If you are buying a new car, then that is a golden opportunity to reduce your co2 emissions per capita. You can choose between gasoline, hybrid, or electric with a wide range of options available. Choose cars that are higher on efficiency than design. Also, while opting for an electric car, be well-researched about the nearest charging stations for the same. It is necessary to know that cars that have lower emissions also have a lower maintenance cost, making it a smart buy in itself.
In an average American home, 25 percent of energy consumption is wasted on heating your spaces according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. These numbers are critical enough for us to rethink our ways of using our home appliances and services.
Here are some of the methods that you can adapt for a reduced carbon emission
- Adapt to a smart thermostat while keeping the blinds closed to help the temperature to stabilize faster and save the carbon footprint.
- Use your water heater as much as sufficient, 120 degrees being just enough.
- Turn off your appliances and lights when they are not being used. You also need to check your power outlets to reduce your electrical consumption even more.
- Invest in a laptop rather than a desktop computer as laptops take less energy to run.
- Replace all the incandescent and energy inefficient light with LEDs. CFLs, etc that are energy efficient.
- Opt for renewable energy resources like solar, wind, etc rather than going for finite resources. Solar panels, solar pergolas, etc are some of the elements you can adapt to add an aesthetic yet valuable asset to your homes.
- Buy star-rated products that are certified as energy-efficient to reduce your electricity bill as well as carbon footprint.
Other methods like insulating your home well to reduce the energy waste, installing a cool roof to reflect the excessive heat, landscaping, and gardening, etc can be some of the most efficient mentors to curb down your home energy to reduce the carbon footprint on a greater extent.
The food systems are always evolving, with many conjectures as to what is the most environmentally friendly diet to follow. Although, most experts agree that a considerable cut down on meat and red meat in specifics can help to create a lesser negative impact on the environment. For this reason, you can opt for a vegan diet as it uses natural ingredients in its simplistic forms.
While selecting food in grocery stores and supermarkets, you need to consider the production and transportation porches of the item as well. The major carbon footprint in the food industry is created through its machinery and transportation process as they use finite resources. And that’s why eating local makes a huge impact. Fewer miles account for fewer carbon emissions
You can also adapt methods such as home growing your food with an organic or a community garden to produce fresh food without any pesticides and fertilizers. This can prove advantageous in having a low carbon footprint while providing several health benefits. Global emissions are closely linked to what we have on our plates, going green as much as possible can always be a benefit.
On average Americans account for a 40 percent wastage of food that they buy.
Here are some of the simpler solutions that you can adapt for lower carbon capture:-
- Concise your grocery list by adding only what is necessary over adding everything you want. This way you get the health benefits as well as save your carbon footprint.
- Plan and cook your food according to the right amount you need for all the members rather than overdoing it and wasting the rest.
- Get creative by reusing all your leftovers instead of tossing them all in the bin. Look out for innovative solutions and recipes.
- Freeze your food properly to avoid them from getting spoilt.
- You also have to be critical of what you eat. Instead of using disposable dishes, opt for dinnerware that you can wash and reuse.
One of the most efficient solutions to reduce your carbon footprint is by calculating how much and how often you prefer air travel. Taking fewer round trips and resorting to public transportation for the same can be a good option. Instead of opting for air travel, you can opt for a sustainable travel option like electric cars, natural gas-reliant vehicles, etc.
If there are occasions where you can’t avoid traveling, then you can try carbon neutrality and reduce your carbon emission in some other way. For other wastes such as petroleum can be avoided by opting for video conferencing for meetings rather than traveling to every location.
Dressing and Shopping Sustainably
Most of the clothes produced under ‘Fast Fashion’ are produced quickly, cheaply, and are not sustainable. This fast industry ends up costing a lot for the environment. So whatever you shop, be it clothes, groceries, home goods, toys, etc. you have to consider the sustainability aspect behind it to reduce the carbon footprint.
Here are some of the do’s that you can consider while dressing or shopping:-
- Try shopping vintage, you will be saving money as well as the environment.
- Consider the fabric of the material and the different environmental impacts that it creates. Think of buying more wool over synthetics.
- Donate your old clothing rather than throwing it away. Some animal shelters also take old bedding, sheets, towels, etc, and be well-researched about everything you invest in.
- Buy Carbon Offsets – Sometimes your contribution towards the carbon footprint is unavoidable. But in such scenarios, you can try buying items from a sustainable initiative that offsets their emission on a level. Although, you have to be careful in analyzing authentic initiatives and organizations.
How to Recycle
One of the easiest methods to reduce your co2 emission per capita is through retaining and reusing what you already have. Rather than using newer materials, you can retain your current elements by reusing them in more than one way.
Here are some of the tips you can consider while reusing and recycling
- Check for a number inside a triangle on the bottom of every plastic container that you buy. This indicates if the resin that was used can be recyclable or not.
- Before throwing any food or waste in a recycling bin, rinse it clean to avoid any spilled item entering the bin as it can spoil the entire batch of recyclables.
- Recycle paper, tin, cans, and before throwing anything away always ask yourself this question – Can I re-use, retain or repair it?
- Donate your working electronics rather than dumping them if they are in a working condition.
- Do not add your non-recyclables in recyclable bins; they can spoil an entire batch.
Know Your Rights and Vote!
To be able to be a responsible citizen towards curbing the reduction of your carbon footprint, you need to have a clear understanding of the science of climate change. Know your facts through various organizations, representative, and authentic sources first, and then act on them. Another conscious initiative from your end can be through meetups and joining with a local climate group that helps you in staying well-updated with the current happenings.
Also, use your vote to curb climate change by opting towards policies and government that support these green initiatives.
How Will These Measures Impact in the Long Run?
In the next 10 years, global MNCs like Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, etc have envisioned themselves to be carbon neutral. Due to the current climatic condition, stalwart organizations like SpaceX are visioning humans to be a multi-planetary species. Curbing the Carbon Footprint has now become a mandatory rather than a luxury. With MNCs and global leaders working on achieving a zero carbon footprint on a macro level. Along with households working on sustainable lifestyle changes on a micro level, the future can be Green!