There are a lot of things you can do to live green. We talk a lot about reducing our carbon footprints, but what are you doing to actively diminish the negative impact you leave on our planet?
There are a lot of ways to go about it, and in small increments, you can leave a positive difference on our planet.
Here are 10 small, easy steps everyone can take to reduce their personal carbon footprint.
1. AVOID DRIVING WHEN POSSIBLE
Cars are among the worst when it comes to carbon emissions, and the fact that there are so many of them doesn’t help. So whenever possible, try to walk or bike to local places. Carpooling helps a ton too. You’ll save money, and you’ll be loving on planet earth.
2. EAT LOCAL WHEN YOU CAN
When you support the produce grown closest to you, you reduce the emissions it takes to transport the food to your grocery store or favorite restaurant. A fair amount of the greenhouse gas emissions involved in the production of your food come from its transportation.
It’s been estimated that a whopping 13% of greenhouse emissions come from production and transportation of food, so this could make a huge difference.
3. TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS
Turning off your lights when yore not using them, or when you exit the room, can save you a lot of money on energy consumption. Be cognizant whenever you leave an area.
4. EAT LOWER ON THE FOOD CHAIN
One of the biggest negatives with animal production is the amount of resources that it uses and waste that it produces. Because of the high level of carbon associated with meat production and because Americans eat so much meat in general, eating “lower on the food chain” is better for individual health and the planet. Eating lower on the food chain means eating mostly fruits, veggies and grains. Eating lower on the food chain doesn't have to be difficult, it can be as simple as choosing to eat seasonally, buying produce from farmers markets or participating in meatless Mondays.
5. DONATE EXCESS FOOD
Even when we try our best to only buy what we need, we can still end up with excess. If you end up with more food than you can eat, make sure you donate it to a local soup kitchen or someone in need, giving it to someone in need, especially if it will go bad within the next few days, it is a great way to reduce food waste! This helps reduce someone else’s carbon footprint and helps you prevent unnecessary increases to your own.
6. BUY ETHICALLY SOURCED HONEY
A bee will only produce about a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. This means the mass-produced honey you see in most grocery stores is made by artificially inseminating bees to produce more honey. These inhumane practices with bees are causing their species to rapidly die out. If you want honey, buy it from a local farm whose practices are ethically sound. Buying honey from small scale beekeepers will reduce your carbon footprint.
7. REUSE WHERE YOU CAN
Getting into the habit of reusing everyday items, can help you, your community, and the environment by saving money, energy, and natural resources. Below are a few ways to reuse everyday products:
Bring your reusable shopping bag to the grocery store
Bring a reusable mug to the coffee shop
Reuse single-sided printed pages for scratch paper
Drink water from used mason jars
Use washable cloth napkins, sponges, and dish cloths
Pack lunches in reusable containers
8. TURN DOWN YOUR THERMOSTAT.
Heating your home in the winter is expensive, and it can also be a major contributor to your carbon footprint. Do the planet and your wallet a favor and turn down the thermostat by a degree or two when you're in the house. At night you should turn the heat down even lower. Investing in a smart thermostat that senses when you're in the house and adjusts itself is another way to reduce your carbon emissions.
9. SWITCH OUT YOUR OLD LIGHT BULBS FOR ENERGY-SAVING ONES.
If you still use incandescent bulbs to light your home, it's time to make a change. Incandescents use electricity inefficiently, adding money to your electricity bill and your home cooling expenses, thanks to the excess heat they generate. Energy Star-qualified light bulbs like CFLs (compact fluorescents) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are more energy-efficient than the average light bulb and last six times as long. If every household in America swapped just one regular light bulb for one of these options, we could reduce CO2 emissions by 9 billion pounds.
10. SHOP FOR CLOTHES AT SECOND-HAND STORES
The fashion industry produces 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year. The production and distribution of the crops, fibers, and garments used in fashion all contribute to differing forms of environmental pollution, including water, air, and soil pollution. When you need to replenish your closet, head to a second-hand store. Buying gently used clothing is better for the environment, and many thrift stores donate part of the proceeds to charitable causes.