8 Ways To Instantly Lower Your Carbon Footprint
Photo by Akshaya Premjith
According to National Geographic, “Earth is the only planet in our galaxy that can support life. Scientists estimate that Earth is home to about 300,000 plant species, over 600,000 species of fungi, and about ten million animal species.” That’s pretty impressive, right?
However, the Earth’s population is increasing and straining the ecosystem. It is now more important than ever to take our impact seriously and to make some easy, but vital changes to our lifestyles that can help decrease the stress on our planet. The obvious question is “How easy is it to lower your carbon footprint?” And “Can I really make a difference?”
Every small effort that you make to lower your carbon footprint and live more eco-friendly makes a big difference to our planet in the long term. Things like Recycling, buying local or artisan-made, eating less meat, and driving less are some of the best ways to lower your carbon emissions.
In this article, let’s get into 8 of the easiest ways to instantly lower your carbon footprint so you can rest assured that you are doing your part to fight climate change.
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Photo by Oleg Magni
Energy is needed to create packaging and products made from all materials including plastic, glass, and paper. Plastic is one of the planet’s leading sources of pollution but glass and paper should not be excluded.
Always take reusable shopping bags with you to lower the demand for plastic packets, especially when you go to the market to purchase your weekly groceries. During other shopping excursions, try to buy products with as little packaging as possible. Biodegradable packaging is the best.
Give packaging or products that you buy a second life before throwing them away or recycling them. Jars can be used to store food or other items and plastic bags can be reused plenty of times before being recycled.
If you are crafty you can also get into upcycling and create new things with the waste from your purchases before recycling them.
If you can’t find a biodegradable alternative and don’t have a second use for your recyclable waste, you can sort your recycling into four categories: paper, plastic, glass, and tin. Once you have collected enough recyclable goods, you can properly dispose of them in your weekly recycling bin or drop them off at your local recycling plant.
2. Leave Your Car At Home
Reducing the amount that you use your car is currently the number one way to lower your carbon footprint.
You can use your car less by opting for public transport instead, or traveling by bicycle when possible. Sticking to public transport lowers your carbon footprint by almost 1 tonne of CO2 per person per year.
However, living completely car-free cuts your carbon emissions by a staggering 2.04 tonnes of CO2 per annum for one person according to BBC News, which is almost three times the amount that a vegan diet would save.
3. Avoid Fast Fashion Clothing and Jewelry
Fast Fashion clothing refers to clothing manufactured in bulk by huge corporations using unsustainable manufacturing methods like child-labor and poor waste management.
You can make a positive impact on your carbon footprint by choosing sustainable fashion items made by brands that follow the fair-trade agreement, or by buying artisan-made products.
There is a wide selection of fashionable handmade jewelry items in our ShopatMAP store, where each item is sustainably sourced from artisans in disadvantaged situations, and 100% of profits go towards helping impoverished children around the world.
4. Buy Local Produce
Photo by Zen Chung
All imported produce needs to travel long distances via plane, ship, or truck to get to the store you buy it from. This means that every time you buy imported food, you contribute to carbon emissions.
Opting for local produce is better in so many ways. Not only does it drastically reduce your carbon footprint, but it also benefits your economy and the local farmers who produce the items. Look for weekly Farmers Markets in your area to purchase freshly picked, organic, and seasonal fruits and vegetables that support local farmers and their agricultural communities.
5. Keep Meat Off Your Plate
Livestock, and the crops that are grown to feed them, are often far from sustainably farmed. Along with the methane gas produced by livestock, both livestock and cropland need a great amount of resources like land and water to be maintained.
To give you an idea of how much land use we’re talking about, crops grown to feed livestock take up 34% of the global crop production according to an article by Anthropocene Magazine.
Although a vegan diet will save you 0.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year per person, you don’t need to go fully vegan to instantly lower your carbon footprint. Start with small changes to your diet and do the best that you can, even if that is only trying out Meatless Mondays. The less meat you consume, the better your carbon footprint will be.
6. Switch Off The Lights
Saving electricity is a great way to lower your, and your household’s carbon footprint. There are many ways to lower your electricity usage.
The best place to start is by replacing all your light bulbs with energy-saving LEDs which cut energy consumption by at least 75% and last 25 times longer. Unbelievable!
Another hidden way to save electricity and lower your carbon footprint is to unplug any device or appliance that you aren’t using. The energy lost by these unused devices and appliances accounts for 5-8% of a household’s total electricity bill. Even simply turning off the lights each time you leave a room helps to conserve energy.
7. Use Renewable Energy
One of the quickest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to switch to using renewable energy like solar power, or wind turbines.
If you don’t want to rely on your government for supplying your renewable energy, or if you live in a country that doesn’t offer this service, you can independently have solar panels installed for your house to run on.
Investing in solar panels may be pricey upfront, but in the long term, they can save you money and lower your carbon footprint significantly. Always opt for renewable energy whenever you have the choice.
8. Keep Flying Essential
If people used planes as much as cars, flying would be at the top of the list for the most carbon emissions. The amount of fuel required to take off, fly, and land a plane is rather unsustainable when done unnecessarily.
For the most part, people don’t fly very often. However, some people need to take frequent business trips on a weekly basis, causing their carbon footprint to skyrocket.
One of the quickest ways to lower your carbon footprint, especially for all the frequent flyers, is to plan one less long-haul flight per year. With each long-distance flight avoided, you can cut an astonishing 1.68 tonnes of CO2 per flight per person, every year.
Be A Part Of The Solution
Photo by Markus Spiske
Being the only planet in our solar system with liquid water and an oxygen-rich atmosphere, our little blue planet is truly extraordinary. To keep the Earth thriving, let’s work together to make positive changes in our lifestyles. After all, it is the only one we have!
You can do your part to help whether it's simply being conscious of the amount of energy consumption used in your daily life or increasing your intake of local fruits and vegetables, thereby lowering your intake of meat. Every bit counts!
At ShopatMAP we make sure to source all our items from talented artisans in an eco-friendly, sustainable way. Take a look at what we’ve got in store, here.
Written by ShopatMAP