We know that climate change is real, even though there may be some that still do not believe. But it is not too late to win the battle and reverse the change if each of us takes some action to reduce carbon footprint!
Where Do Most Of Our Emissions Come From?
In order to better understand how to make the environment cleaner and reduce carbon footprints – we need to understand what we are doing that is hurting it in the first place! The Union of Concerned Scientists has some great data to help us understand this.
There are 5 key areas that are affecting the emissions we are releasing into the environment.
- Food – 14%
- Other Home Energy Use – 15%
- Home Heating & Cooling – 17%
- Stuff You Buy – 26%
- Transportation – 28%
Think about all of the above and how much of that you can work on improving in your own life! The images below from Union of Concerned Scientists shows the breakdown.
How Can We Reduce Our Carbon Footprint?
Below are some simple ways you and your family can work together to help reduce our carbon footprint to make sure the world is a beautiful place for generations!
1. Drive Less
One of the biggest environmental impacts out there is our cars and while in recent years there have been strides made in improving them – we still have a ways to go. Cars, buses, taxis – any automobile releases more toxins than you can imagine that not only hurt the environment – but hurt us when we breathe in the fumes.
If you could take to walking, biking, carpooling and using mass transit as often as you can the impact could be huge!
2. Conserve Water
Water is a precious gift that many of us are lucky to have! But water does not come easily and is not something we can replenish so it is important to use it with caution.
- Use a low flow shower head and take shorter showers
- Turn off water when you are brushing your teeth
- Only use water efficient home appliances like dishwashers and toilets
- Check all your pipes for leaks
- Understand how products are being made – many use a lot of water to make – opt for reusable items that typically use less water, did you know meat is one of the worst water waters? Just by not eating meat you will conserve a ton of water!
3. Solar Panels
Most homes are not incredibly energy efficient and you can see above that home heating and cooling can be 17% of your carbon footprint! By installing solar panels you can possibly decrease that as well as other normal home activities.
Investing in an energy audit can be an asset in helping you understand if solar panels can make an impact on your footprint.
4. Composting Your Food
While companies – and even spirit brands are being creative with food waste – families are not doing as great a job! Composting is a great way to use those food remnants you do not need.
The US is doing a great job of improving their recycling, but we can still improve as a society! Recycling should be a household activity that the whole family is involved in. You should check with your local municipality to find out more about their recycling requirements.
Below are some tips to help you recycle or find alternatives so you do not need to.
- Recycle all plastic, paper, cardboard, metal and glass
- Have a recycle bin for each of these items
- Buy products that have sustainable packaging if you can to prevent the need for recycling
- Rechargeable batteries and cell phones should also be recycled – you would need to find a location that accepts them
While traveling may not be something you want to give up – and we get it, you can find ways to limit your carbon footprint!
When you fly you can actually purchase carbon offsets and fly with airlines that may do a better job with their carbon emissions. You can stay at green hotels that practice environmentally friendly strategies. Utilize mass transit, walk or bicycle during your trip to prevent the carbon footprint a rental car leaves.
7. Support Organizations Promoting Climate Action
Find nonprofit organizations that are helping in the fight against climate change and show them your support with donations or even volunteering. Look for companies that are working towards reducing their own carbon footprint to be able to buy from!
8. Eat Locally & Grow Your Own Food
By purchasing food from locals you will reduce the need for transportation which in turn can actually make your food healthier. Check out farmers markets, actually farms with stands and even local stores that buy from those farmers.
Another option is to start your own little garden! Tomatoes, carrots and greens grown in your own garden are a great way to have some family fun and keep them eating healthy while saving the world.
Another option may be a community garden! We have one and it is a great way to meet like minded people, grow your garden and share the rewards when everything is ready.
9. Renewable Energy
Certified renewable energy providers can greatly assist in reducing the carbon footprint your home produces. Wind energy is just one example of what is being done to produce alternate energy options. Green-e is one option for finding a provider near you.
10. Become A Minimalist
I am working on this now myself! Think about every item you buy – is it a need or a want? Can you rent it? Can you buy it used? This includes everything from big purchases like furniture to small items like books. Not only by really thinking about your purchases will you help save the environment but have more money in your pocket!
Find Out Your Families Carbon Footprint!
Carbon Footprint offers a calculator that can help you determine just how much of a footprint your family is leaving on the environment!
Once you know how large or small your footprint is – then you can use the tips above to reduce your footprint.