What is a carbon footprint, and how can you reduce yours?
In our increasingly climate-conscious society, it’s become important to most people to be mindful of their impact as an individual on the environment. Usually, we do this by assessing our carbon footprint – essentially, this is the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere as a result of our choices and actions.
While it’s important to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible, it can be tricky if you’re not sure where to start. Ahead, we take a look at just a few of the steps that you can take to start reducing your carbon footprint, for a more eco-friendly way of living.
Make changes at home
Some of the most effective ways of reducing your carbon footprint can often be achieved from the comfort of your home. You’ll want to begin by first calculating your household’s carbon footprint, to then identify which specific changes can be made in order to reduce it.
For many, reducing the carbon footprint of a home will mean replacing an oil or gas boiler with an air-source heat pump – a system in which heat is absorbed from outside of the house, and pumped into the interior. For others, it may be that switching household appliances to more energy-efficient alternatives or insulating walls solves some of the problem.
While some of these tasks may take time and money, there are simple ways of lowering your home’s footprint, too – such as turning the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth, or switching your electronics off when you’re not using them. Even fun activities such as planting a tree in your garden or installing a pond can help to absorb any carbon produced by your household.
Switch your mode of transport
Transportation vehicles like planes, trains, and cars account for much of the carbon emissions produced by humans globally, so you’ll want to make changes here where you can.
By switching from a car that uses fossil fuels to an electric car, you can save approximately 54.15 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment throughout its lifetime. Or, to lower your footprint even further, consider walking or cycling wherever possible. These are two modes of transport that don’t produce any harmful emissions, so they are an incredibly green way to travel.
Ultimately, there may be times that using emission-producing vehicles are unavoidable – but it’s best to stick to public transport over using a personal car as often as possible, in order to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
Be mindful of your food choices
For many, committing to a change in diet is tough. However, it’s something to consider when reducing your carbon footprint, as the meat industry as a whole is not kind to the environment – in fact, agriculture currently stands as the fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses. This is largely because the processes by which animals are reared to produce meat also produce plenty of greenhouse gas emissions.
Of course, the best way to eliminate this problem is to go vegan – this way, you won’t be buying into an industry that makes use of harmful practices. It can be hard to make the switch though, so even if you choose to reduce your meat intake very slightly – or alternatively, switch to grass-fed animal meat – you’ll still be taking active steps to lower your carbon footprint.
Small changes for a large impact
Ultimately, no one can eliminate their carbon footprint completely. However, there are small changes that each of us can make, from home upgrades to new food choices, that take us a step in the right direction, and have a larger impact overall.
By making these small, but mindful changes, each one of us can do our bit to be kinder to the planet and ensure a happier future for all.