In this day and age, it’s hard not to be aware of climate change, its impending impacts, and our own role in the planet’s health. The good news is that we can all do our part to help Mother Earth and every little bit makes a difference. We’ve put together a list of 5 easy and effective ways you can reduce your carbon footprint, minimizing your impact on our planet with our sacrificing your lifestyle.
1. Turn down the heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.
What’s the use of wasting all of that energy when no one is there to use it? By turning your heat down 5 degrees in the winter and your AC up 5 degrees in the summer when no one is home, you’re helping to conserve energy at no additional cost to yourself or your lifestyle.
2. Reduce or eliminate your meat consumption.
The impact that meat consumption has on carbon emissions and the planet in general is often underestimated or overlooked altogether, even though it necessitates an extensive amount of water and carbon for production and distribution. According to Our World, “the global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined.” By minimizing the amount of meat, and specifically red meat, in your diet, your can shrink your carbon footprint.
Start by trying weekly Meatless Mondays and cooking a veggie version of your favorite weekday dinner!
3. Buy less. And when you do, buy from sustainable clothing brands.
Carbon is embedded in almost every manufacturing process in the world, but fast fashion brands have had an incomparable impact on the environment. In addition to often employing child laborers, chemical runoff from their factories pollutes drinking water while shipping emissions from overseas are excessive and the “throwaway” attitude of their clothing has contributed to an influx in textile waste.
Instead, adopt the more minimalist lifestyle and buy less. When you do buy, frequent brands that manufacture ethically, paying a living wage to of-age workers, and sustainably, using well-sourced materials and production practices that don’t harm the environment.
4. Shop at your local farmer’s market and plant a garden.
Buying local and growing your own food are great ways to reduce carbon-embedded purchases, while also being able to control what’s going into your body. Rather than shopping from the ‘Big Organic’ stores, like Whole Foods, which often use the same processes as industrial farming but without the aid of pesticides and herbicides, go local and seasonal. Buying from big organic companies is better for the biosphere and for your own body, but does little to reduce your carbon footprint. By buying local and growing your own seasonal vegetables, you are helping to support the local economy and the environment.
5. Unplug your devices when you aren’t using them.
This strategy is simple, effective, and benefits the environment as well as your energy bill. Every year in the US, unused power racks up $19 billion in bills for consumers. By simply unplugging your chargers and the toaster after use, you can reduce your energy waste.