Greenhouse gas emissions
The exploitation of the planet picked up pace in the time period of the industrial revolution. Resources that take thousands of years to rejuvenate are used up quickly in the industrial processes. The world continued to ignore the signs of the planet’s rapid deterioration for economic growth. Today, we face a truly horrifying situation. No matter what some of the most powerful politicians say, climate change is real. And the change isn’t small. It’s complicated, mysterious, and is going to have an impact on our future.
Natural disasters occurring due to human exploitation of the planet have been increasing. While it’s true that we need policies and powerful changes on a global scale, we can do things at our level. And we should start by actively trying to reduce our carbon footprint. You might have heard of ‘carbon footprint’. It is the overall amount of greenhouse gas emissions coming from a product or service. The carbon footprint includes methane, fluorinated gases, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide.
The most common gas emitted by humans is carbon dioxide. The greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming -they trap the heat in the atmosphere. A Global Warming Potential (GWP) is calculated for each greenhouse gas. The GWP reflects how long the gas remains in the atmosphere and how strongly it absorbs the energy. More energy is absorbed by gases with higher GWP.
Each individual has their own carbon footprint, usually coming from food, housing, and transportation. As responsible citizens of the planet, each individual must try their best to reduce their carbon footprint. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is known as a carbon offset.
Saving the planet – how can we reduce our carbon footprint?
Say yes to less of meat
According to experts, eating less red meat is an environment-friendly choice. Red meat requires an ample amount of resources for water, land, and to feed. Cows give off emissions of a harmful green gas called methane.
A vegan diet is generally accepted to be excellent for the environment. Plant-based food has far lesser environmental impact than red meat. Foods like apples, carrots, legumes, potatoes, and rice give off only half a pound of carbon dioxide per serving, while the emission by beef per serving is more than six pounds. Vegetarian and pescetarian diets are also better and environment-friendly options, but the vegan diet is the most environmentally friendly one.
Adding more vegetables and fruits, grains, seeds, and beans are important for reducing your carbon footprint. Try to get your food from local sources to reduce the carbon emissions caused due to transportation. It’s also crucial that you waste less. Estimates say that forty percent of the food they buy is wasted by Americans. To keep this in check, you should organize your fridge and buy according to your needs.
Do not toss the food leftovers. Re-use them instead of throwing them away. Plan the amount before cooking, so you don’t end up with leftovers. Replace your disposable dishes with the habit of washing dinnerware instead. If you still prefer to use disposable plates and cutlery, use compostable and biodegradable options.
Choosing Road over Sky
A brilliant way to reduce the carbon footprint is to choose to travel by road instead of the sky. Transportation is the biggest source of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Your carbon footprint reduces significantly when you fly less. If flying is unavoidable for you, donate more to sustainable projects. Some sustainable projects help supply efficient stoves to homes in rural areas.
Going carless has a drastic impact on the environment. Repeatedly choose public transportation like trains and buses, or ride a bike instead traveling by car. In case you still have to continue traveling by car, drive efficiently. Regularly service your car, and do use the brakes only as much as needed. The best method is to carpool if you’re traveling by car since that reduces many individuals’ carbon footprint.
Heat and lights at home
Simple changes at home reduce your carbon footprint. Small changes, like turning down your heat and water heater, go a long way. Use a smart thermostat or keep the blinds closed instead. This will help keep the temperature stable. Watch movies on your TV instead of a game console as the latter uses ten times higher energy. Turn off the appliances and light when you’re not using them. LED lights are a more efficient and eco-friendly option than incandescent lights. Choose renewable energy suppliers, and keep your fridge temperature around thirty-five to thirty-eight degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep it zero degrees for the freezer. Keeping it lower than necessary adds to your carbon footprint. If you have an old fridge that hogs up all the energy, replace it with an energy-efficient one.
With approximately 258 million tons of trash per year generated by Americans, there is an enormous need to recycle. To ensure your waste does not end up significantly damaging the planet, develop some simple habits. Recycle paper, steel, and tin cans as much as possible for you. If you’re about to throw something away, consider if it can be repaired or re-used. While buying plastic containers, check if it has a triangle at the bottom. This is an indication of whether the container is recyclable.
While putting trash in the bin, don’t add non-recyclable waste to the recyclable one. When throwing food containers properly empty them and rinse them. All of this will help a lot in the recycling process.
Energy-efficient changes at home
Start with sealing it well. This would include spots like the attic, doors, and windows which allow heat and cool to escape. If you plan on replacing the windows and doors, consider the ones with an energy-efficient rating. Insulate the house well, by using the right materials. Plant more of those beautiful trees and shrubs around your house as an insulation fix –this is an excellent way for reducing your carbon footprint if you have an old house. Install a cool roof in your house, as it’s made of a reflective material. A cool roof keeps your house cool by redirecting the light away from it.
If you plan on saving the planet, you should be trying to reduce your water usage. Water is an unimaginably valuable resource for our survival and it is very limited. Conserving our waterways is an essential part of this. You can conserve water in many ways. Start with the small changes. While brushing, turn the tap off.
Do not let the water keep running. Shorten the time you spend while showering. If everyone starts taking shorter showers, we can achieve a lot. Do not dispose of stuff by flushing it down the toilet, as that wastes gallons of water.
Switch to soaps and dishes which are not filled with toxins. They severely add to water pollution. Use natural, eco-friendly soaps instead. Turn to reusable options for products like paper plates, towels, and cups. Gallons of water go into making them. Start a waterway cleanup in your community, and if you already have one in your local community, join it.
Cut down on fossil fuels
Start by installing solar panels on your roof if you can afford to. If you’re on a budget, join a community solar farm. These farms do not require any installation on the property and help you save a lot on your energy bills. If you get the option to sign up for programs that help save energy, do it. There must be advantageous offers as well. Use less electricity in the house. Whenever you do not need the lights, shut them off. Buy products that have the energy star logo.
If you’re planning to buy a car, opt for an electric car instead of the traditional options. This will aid you in cutting down the conventional option of fossil fuels.