How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Jul 16, · Reducing carbon emissions makes good economic sense. Insulation, efficient lighting and heating controls can bring down energy bills dramatically. Donate used cell phones and chargers, furniture clothing and cleaning and school supplies. Get a Little Exercise Consider walking or riding a bike to campus if the distance is reasonable. Walk from you bus or subway stop to your office or lab.
Climate change can be overwhelming. The science is complex, and when it how to reduce your carbon footprint at school to future impacts, there are still a lot of unknowns. While real solutions will require action on a global scale, there are choices you can make in your day-to-day life to lessen your personal impact on the environment.
This guide will walk you through some of them. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production, use and end-of-life of a product or service. It includes carbon dioxide — the gas most commonly emitted by humans — and others, including methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming. You can start the process by calculating your carbon footprint here. You will need to know the following:.
No matter how you scored, here are some things that could help you lessen your personal environmental impact. We know. Global warming is daunting. One of the most effective ways to begin thinking about how to reduce your carbon footprint is to reconsider how much, and how often, you travel. In November carbon dioxide emissions from transportation surpassed emissions from electricity generation as the top source of greenhouse gases.
Electricity generation is shifting away from the use of coal to more renewable sources and natural gas. Going carless for a year could save about 2. How can you stop using a car? Try taking a train, bus or better yet, ride a bike. You will likely need to use a car this year. So, when you do, here are some tips to make your trip more climate-friendly:. Shopping for a new car is a great opportunity to consider how you can reduce your personal carbon footprint.
The following can help:. Fly often? Taking one fewer long round-trip flight could shrink your personal carbon footprint significantly. Think about it this way: If you use public transportation often, and fly home to visit family just occasionally, your carbon footprint might still be relatively sustainable, but if you drive and fly a lot, your emissions will be higher.
Sometimes airlines will give you this option themselves, or you can use a third-party like Atmosfair or Terrapass. You can calculate the emissions per flight here. While food systems are complicated, and research is still evolving on what the most environmentally-friendly diet is, experts mostly agree that cutting down on meatand red meat in particular, is a better choice for the environment. This is because the production of red meat uses a lot of feed, water and land.
Cows themselves also give off methane emissions a harmful greenhouse gas. For that reason, eating a vegan diet is likely to be best for the environment, say experts. According to a study published in in the journal Environmental Research Letters, red meat can have how to make a successful newsletter to times the environmental impact of plant based food.
According to some estimates, beef gives off more than six pounds of carbon dioxide per serving; the amount created per serving by rice, legumes carrots, apples or potatoes is less than half a pound.
Eating a vegetarian or pescetarian diet are also likely to be better for the environment than a diet which includes a lot of meat. Each of these, however, depend on exactly what you are eating, and how much of it. If you replace that meat with dairy, for example, your emissions could rise again. Following national health guidelines, with further reductions in meat, fish and dairy this is similar to a Mediterranean diet is a good option too, Dr.
Springmann said. These diets can also have health benefits. Overall, eating low down the food chain as often as you can is a probably a good way to reduce your carbon footprint and stay healthysay experts. That means filling your plate with vegetables, fruits, grains and beans. For meat-lovers, even swapping carbon-intensive meats like beef and lamb with chicken can make a difference.
Better still, swap a few meals per-week to vegan or vegetarian. This protein card can help you make climate and wallet friendly choices at the grocery store. When it comes to food, most greenhouse gas emissions happen during production, rather than transportation : What you eat is more important than where it comes from.
But eating local can still make a difference. Fewer food-miles what is a blood horse mean fewer emissions. The complicating factor in how to discipline your kids without yelling locally happens when you start to consider how the food got to you, not just from how far away it came.
Tomatoes brought a short distance to a farmers market by truck, or shipped further to the grocery store by a train, could release similar emissions. The transportation you take to get your tomatoes, and bring them home, also matters. What about local meat versus imported vegetables? Eating only locally grown food for one year would save the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 1, miles, but eating just one vegetarian meal a week for a year saves miles more than thataccording to one study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon.
How about organic? The study found that organic systems use less energy than conventional ones, but they often require more land and, therefore, emit similar greenhouse gas emissions. This is a big one : on average, Americans waste around 40 percent of the food they buy. Luckily, there are simple solutions to lower your food waste and these tips will save you money, too. What to Eat On. Skip the disposable dishes and wash your dinnerware instead. Washing dishes, whether it is by hand or in a dishwasher, is likely to be more environmentally friendly than using disposable ones assuming your dishwasher is energy efficient.
If you do need to use disposable plates, bowls and cutlery, there are climate-friendly options look for compostable or biodegradable options. If you order takeout, wash and reuse the plastic containers that food often comes in.
In the average American home, 25 percent of energy is used to heat spaces, 13 percent is used to heat water, 11 percent is used for cooling and the remainder is spent on appliances, according to estimates from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Making even small changes to these can make a big difference, said Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist and director of the N. This calculator can help you work out your energy usage before and after you make these changes.
Americans generate about roughly million tons of trash a yearmillion tons of which ends up in landfills and incinerators, according to a report from the E. But much of the waste that can be recycled still ends up in landfills. Small changes to the insulation and design of your home — from do-it-yourself hacks to building changes — can help you reduce your carbon footprint at home. Buying less is the first step. Beyond that, there are simple ways to reduce the impact from your purchases.
According to the World Resources Institute, 20 items of clothing are manufactured per person, per year. As the price of our clothes drops, the environmental and human costs increase. In addition to changing your day-to-day habits, exercising your rights as a citizen is one of the most significant things you can do to help the planet. Taking climate change into consideration when you vote is a good start. Here are some other tips:. Originally from Australia, she has a master's degree from Columbia Journalism School and has also reported for publications including The Atlantic, Quartz and Vice Magazine.
By Livia Albeck-Ripka. What Is a Carbon Footprint? You will need to know the following: Approximately how many miles you travel by car, bus, train and plane. The energy usage in your home. How much you spend shopping. The composition of your diet. A new book presents potential solutions. Can you figure out which ones are top ranked? On the Road, in the Sky One of the most effective ways to begin thinking about how to reduce your carbon footprint is to reconsider how much, and how often, you travel.
Drive Less In November carbon dioxide emissions from transportation surpassed emissions from electricity generation as the top source of greenhouse gases. So, when you do, here are some tips to make your trip more climate-friendly: Go easy on the gas and brakes — driving efficiently can help to reduce emissions. Regularly service your car to keep it more efficient. Check your tires. Keeping tires pumped correctly can reduce emissions.
West said. Air conditioning and intensive city driving can make emissions creep up. Cut down on these as often as possible. Use cruise control on long drives — in most cases, this can help to save gas. Buying a New Car? The following can help: Search for cars herewhere they are rated by efficiency. Think about where you will be charging up. How efficient hybrid and electric cars are also depends on what state you live in — different states rely on fossil fuels to different degrees.
Weigh up both how to catch mew in fire red and use emissions using this app. Making electric cars has a carbon footprint, too. Look for the How to reduce your carbon footprint at school Way certification.
The 35 Easiest Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Reduce your carbon footprint with these 35 easy tricks. Photo: MilicaBuha. In the face of the recent National Climate Assessment report on the threats of climate change, the Trump administration continues to try to roll back environmental policies.
Individuals, however, can make a difference by reducing their personal greenhouse gas emissions. While there are many ways to do this and save energy—such as insulating your home, putting up solar panels, and planting trees—the following are the simplest and easiest changes you can make. They require little effort or financial investment. Your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases—including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases and others—that you produce as you live your life.
Currently, the average U. We all have a ways to go to get to 1. Calculate your carbon footprint at carbonfootprint. Photo: BeckyStriepe. Eat low on the food chain. This means eating mostly fruits, veggies, grains, and beans.
Livestock —meat and dairy—is responsible for You can start by joining Meatless Mondays. Choose organic and local foods that are in season. Transporting food from far away, whether by truck, ship, rail or plane, uses fossil fuels for fuel and for cooling to keep foods in transit from spoiling.
Reduce your food waste by planning meals ahead of time, freezing the excess and reusing leftovers. Compost your food waste if possible. If you live in New York City, you can find a compost drop-off site here. Photo: JessicaKayMurray. Trendy, cheap items that go out of style quickly get dumped in landfills where they produce methane as they decompose. Currently, the average American discards about 80 pounds of clothing each year, 85 percent of which ends up in landfills.
In addition, most fast fashion comes from China and Bangladesh, so shipping it to the U. Instead, buy quality clothing that will last. Wash your clothing in cold water. The enzymes in cold water detergent are designed to clean better in cold water. Doing two loads of laundry weekly in cold water instead of hot or warm water can save up to pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
Laptops require less energy to charge and operate than desktops. If shopping for appliances, lighting, office equipment or electronics, look for Energy Star products , which are certified to be more energy efficient. Support and buy from companies that are environmentally responsible and sustainable.
Do an energy audit of your home. This will show how you use or waste energy and help identify ways to be more energy efficient. Change incandescent light bulbs which waste 90 percent of their energy as heat to light emitting diodes LEDs. Though LEDs cost more, they use a quarter of the energy and last up to 25 times longer. They are also preferable to compact fluorescent lamp CFL bulbs, which emit 80 percent of their energy as heat and contain mercury.
Switch lights off when you leave the room and unplug your electronic devices when they are not in use. This can save about pounds of CO2 a year. Installing a low-flow showerhead to reduce hot water use can save pounds of CO2. Taking shorter showers helps, too. Lower your thermostat in winter and raise it in summer. Use less air conditioning in the summer; instead opt for fans, which require less electricity.
And check out these other ways to beat the heat without air conditioning. Sign up to get your electricity from clean energy through your local utility or a certified renewable energy provider. Because electricity increasingly comes from natural gas and renewable energy, transportation became the major source of U.
CO2 emissions in Making changes in how you get around can significantly cut your carbon budget. Photo: SFBicycleCoalition. Drive less. Walk, take public transportation, carpool, rideshare or bike to your destination when possible. This not only reduces CO2 emissions, it also lessens traffic congestion and the idling of engines that accompanies it.
If you must drive, avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. Some studies found that aggressive driving can result in 40 percent more fuel consumption than consistent, calm driving. Take care of your car. Keeping your tires properly inflated can increase your fuel efficiency by three percent; and ensuring that your car is properly maintained can increase it by four percent.
Remove any extra weight from the car. Use traffic apps like Waze to help avoid getting stuck in traffic jams. But do factor in the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of the car as well as its operation. Some electric vehicles are initially responsible for more emissions than internal combustion engine vehicles because of manufacturing impacts; but they make up for it after three years.
This app rates cars based on their mileage, fuel type and emissions from both the production of the car and, if they are EVs, from generating the electricity to run them. If you fly for work or pleasure, air travel is probably responsible for the largest part of your carbon footprint. Avoid flying if possible ; on shorter trips, driving may emit fewer greenhouse gases. Photo: Deeksha. Fly nonstop since landings and takeoffs use more fuel and produce more emissions.
Go economy class. A carbon offset is an amount of money you can pay for a project that reduces greenhouse gases somewhere else.
If you offset one ton of carbon, the offset will help capture or destroy one ton of greenhouse gases that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere.
Offsets also promote sustainable development and increase the use of renewable energy. This calculator estimates the carbon emissions of your flight and the amount of money needed to offset them.
For example, flying economy roundtrip from New York to Los Angeles produces 1. You can purchase carbon offsets to compensate for any or all of your other carbon emissions as well.
The money you pay goes towards climate protection projects. Various organizations sponsor these projects. For example, Myclimate funds the purchase of energy efficient cookstoves in Rwanda, installing solar power in the Dominican Republic, and replacing old heating systems with energy efficient heat pumps in Switzerland.
Cotap sustainably plants trees in India, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Nicaragua to absorb CO2; you can sign up for monthly offsets here. Terrapass funds U. It also offers a monthly subscription for offsets. Photo: ScottBeale. Finally—and perhaps most importantly since the most effective solutions to climate change require governmental action— vote!
Become politically active and let your representatives know you want them to take action to phase out fossil fuels use and decarbonize the country as fast as possible. As the richest people on earth use more carbon their should pay carbon tax. I do agree with you Kalpna, the richest people use an average of x times more the richer the more they use , since they have mansions requires a lot more power , boats, private aeroplanes etc. Do I sense fear of stating the unpopular? Popular or not, you may be wrong because people are both the cause of and solution to all their problems.
People are not wolves. With wolves and chickens, the more wolves: the fewer chickens, and the fewer wolves: the more chickens. With people, it is just the opposite: the more people you get more chickens not less. That extra kid may contribute to sustainablility. I see your viewpoint. If one is living sustainably and encourages other people to do so, the benefits of that person living on the planet through getting other people to reduce their environmental impact likely exceeds the personal carbon footprint of that person.
Benefits of pets is tremendous — safety, assist handicapped, therapy animals, provide comfort and companionship, reduce blood pressure and anxiety, etc. If you are referring to the fact that they eat pet foods, most pet foods are made from meat scraps parts not sold for human consumption and include vegetables. Also, changes in feed for farm animals has reduced gas emissions. Thanks for the tips. However, 32 which advises non-stop flying is unlikely to be true most of the time as non- stop flights tend to burn large quantities of fuel carrying the additional fuel mass.
Maybe we should consider adding one more idea. Save carbon rich material from turning into CO2. Reduce your carbon footprint by keeping dead plant around longer. A leaf falls on the ground and is decomposed this year.