Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

With the imminent threat of climate change looming over our earth, it’s important to do your part in reducing the effects of greenhouse gases. Everything has a “carbon footprint”, however, humans have the largest carbon footprint out of all beings on the planet. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide, as well as other carbon compounds, that is emitted as a result of one person’s use of fossil fuels. The foods you eat, how you get to and from work, the clothes you buy, and many other things are examples of things that increase your carbon footprint. Let’s discuss how to reduce your carbon footprint.

Food

One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by changing what you eat and where you buy your groceries. Large, commercial grocery stores receive shipments from all over the world. During the shipping process, copious amounts of fossil fuels are burnt. On average, an airplane produces 3.48 lbs of carbon for each ton of food it transports. Because of this, eating locally produced food will reduce your carbon footprint, as well as help you contribute to your community. Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is by eating less meat. The meat industry typically uses machinery that produces lots of carbon and preserving and packaging meats use fossil fuels as well. Lastly, avoid buying processed products. They typically come in lots of plastic packaging that produces a lot of carbon and causes pollution because it does not decompose.

Transportation

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2020, nearly 337 million gallons of motor gasoline were burned each day. One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by switching to an electric vehicle. However, not everyone has the financial ability to do that, so you could also consider walking or using a bike to travel shorter distances and public buses for longer distances. If you are going on vacation, consider traveling by train rather than plane, because they burn massive amounts of greenhouse gases.

Clothes

Fast fashion has many negative effects on the environment. During production, fast fashion releases lots of toxins into the atmosphere. Shipping also produces lots of carbon. When reducing your carbon footprint, consider buying handmade, locally sourced clothes. Handmade clothes don’t typically release toxins and locally sourced products will not need to be shipped long distances. Another option is to buy second-hand clothing. Thrift stores and flea markets are great places to find used clothing, and to donate old clothes you don’t want anymore.

Energy

One of the most obvious ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by only using electricity when it is completely necessary. For example, turn off the lights when you leave a room, unplug wires of electronics you aren’t using, and turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth.

Sources:

“How to reduce my carbon footprint? | European Youth Portal.” European Union, 7 September 2021, https://europa.eu/youth/get-involved/sustainable-development/how-reduce-my-carbon-footprint_en. Accessed 3 February 2022.

“Transporting food | alimentarium.” Alimentarium, https://www.alimentarium.org/en/knowledge/transporting-food. Accessed 5 February 2022.

“Use of gasoline – US Energy Information Administration.” EIA, https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/gasoline/use-of-gasoline.php. Accessed 7 February 2022.

“What is your carbon footprint? | Carbon Footprint Calculator.” The Nature Conservancy, https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/carbon-footprint-calculator/. Accessed 3 February 2022.

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