Carbon footprints are the number of greenhouse gasses produced by our actions. This contributes to global warming because greenhouse gas, specifically carbon dioxide, absorbs infrared radiation on the earth’s surface and sends it back. Michelle Devani, Founder of LoveDevani notes how this process contributes to more heat production that causes global warming.
We humans can prevent this from continuously happening by being wiser in choosing the activities we participate in, as well as some of our daily practices.
Here are small changes you can make to cut down on your carbon footprint:
Many actions that can cut down your carbon footprint can also save you money, especially when it comes to vehicular travel. Driving carefully and not slamming on the gas and breaks will burn less gas, which will save you money while reducing emissions. Regularly servicing your car to make sure it’s driving efficiently is another way to save your gas money, which in turn will reduce your carbon footprint, and regularly checking your tires can also improve your fuel economy.
The best thing you can do if you absolutely need to travel by car is carpool. This splits emissions between all of the people in the car, and it’ll make your morning commute a lot more fun.
Perhaps most surprisingly, the most effective way most people can reduce their carbon footprint is by changing their diet. Animal products – particularly those in factory farms – have incredibly high amounts of CO2 emissions associated with their processing.
Cutting out some or all animal products (red meat in particular) is probably the most effective way for someone to reduce their carbon footprint.
Every business is different. There are many that could drastically reduce their carbon problem by instituting basic energy efficiency measures (for example, switching out incandescent light bulbs for LEDs, using cold water instead of heating it) or changing such variables as how they manufacture, where they source, and how/where they sell – as well as by instituting end-of-life collection of products designed for easy disassembly and reuse.
Planting trees around your home is a pretty and simple way to reduce your carbon footprint. Trees and shrubs can help insulate your home, meaning you can spend less money on heating and cooling while also doing a good thing for the environment. There are a ton of added benefits to planting more trees around your home including shade, oxygen output, and even fresh fruit!
We can start opting for more nature-friendly power sources such as solar, wind, and hydrothermal energy. This will prevent us from depleting the already diminishing amount of sources we have. This can also benefit nature by preventing the emission of harmful greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, which is commonly present in electricity that is produced by burning fuels.
We’ve all heard it before: reduce, reuse, recycle. Recycling is one of the most mainstream, accepted daily tasks for reducing your carbon footprint, but so many people still don’t do it! Make sure you’re recycling correctly by cleaning food containers before putting them in the bin—any food waste that gets into your recycling bin can contaminate the entire batch. You can also recycle broken electronics and cell batteries at your local electronics store or your local government.
Companies that produce electronic products should have doable and reliable recycling programs for their own products. Instead of leaving the rest of the products’ fate in the hands of users, it is better if these companies would offer programs that would allow communities to surrender their e-waste to companies that produce them. This is important as these companies are the ones that are knowledgeable enough on how these wastes should be handled safely.
It's a common misconception that food scraps will naturally decompose when thrown in the trash. When you toss an apple core into the garbage, though, it ends up in the landfill, where it then releases methane gas that contributes to the planet's rising temperatures. When you compost that apple core, the methane is significantly reduced.
While some of these changes may be new to you and appear to be a big step to take, every small action counts. Doing your part to cut down on your carbon footprint can make all the difference. There’s no better time to start than now.