With the current state of our planet, we simply can’t afford to continue without reducing our personal greenhouse gas emissions. We know what it’s like to feel helpless about pollution and climate change, but the most important takeaway here is that we’re certainly not helpless!
Working towards reducing your carbon footprint will make a difference, but the willingness of others to do the same is just as important. On a broader scale, the earth can’t keep up with the rate at which humans produce or waste, which is why offsetting and reducing is essential to slowing down our carbon “debt.”
1. Reuse and Recycle to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Starting with one thing that everyone can participate in, get into the habit of reusing and recycling. In a society that encourages mass consumption, buying new, and makes waste of any kind socially acceptable, do the exact opposite!
It’s estimated that roughly 29% of greenhouse gas emissions come from extracting resources, manufacturing, transporting goods, and product packaging. With that being said, there are tons of ways to avoid buying something brand new.
Say you’re moving away and need some new furniture. Before heading straight to Ikea, check out your local thrift stores and Facebook marketplace for gently used items. Believe it or not, you’ll end up saving thousands of dollars and are likely to find everything you need without having to purchase anything new!
Check around your house for anything you can repurpose. For example, if you have a few glass food jars that you’d usually recycle, turn them into candle holders, planting pots, coffee cups, refillable spice holders, or refillable milk containers.
2. Create an Eco-Friendly Home
Installing Energy Efficient Appliances
Just about anything from your light bulbs to your showerhead can be replaced with something that’s more efficient. Do an energy audit of your home to find areas that are using the most energy, and then you can identify which products will make your home more sustainable.
Be a responsible consumer and aim for the majority of the products in your home to be purchased through sustainable businesses. Whether it’s your wardrobe, kitchen appliances, or hygiene products, supporting a sustainable company will help you cut down on things like single-use plastic packaging and having to repurchase a second time due to poor quality.
3. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint From Food
This is where it gets complicated since many people are unwilling to change their diets to reduce their emissions. Now, we don’t mean that you need to convert your diet into veganism unless, of course, that’s what you want to do!
Reducing your footprint through food can be as easy as taking one day out of the week to not consume any meat or dairy products and eating foods that are lower on the food chain. Since these two industries are responsible for most of the food industries’ greenhouse gases, you can reduce your footprint by a quarter just by lowering your intake of red meats!
Beyond just your diet, always grocery shop locally and seasonally. Transporting food from distant locations requires large amounts of fossil fuel, which is why chain grocery stores impose a significant threat to our environment. Do a quick Google search to find some local grocery stores nearby or make a weekly trip to your farmers market!
4. Carbon Offsetting For Businesses and Individuals
If you didn’t already know, you can offset your carbon emissions as an individual, or for your business. Essentially, it’s the process of funding solutions that combat global climate change while supporting local communities. For example, certain projects work towards improving communities through employment, clean water, food security, biodiversity, and reforestation.
Just like that, you can begin working towards reducing your own carbon footprint from a few lifestyle changes, and in return, you’ll be making an impact towards a more sustainable future!
For more information, see EcoWatch's article Climate Change: Everything You Need to Know