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There’s always talk about reducing one’s carbon footprint, in order to benefit the environment, but what do you really know about your carbon footprint? A carbon footprint is the “total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities” and is typically expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Many of our daily activities, from driving a car to heating your home and the groceries you purchase, creates a certain amount of CO2, which in large amounts contributes to global warming. So essentially, the smaller the footprint, the less of a negative impact you (and your household) is having on the environment.
While it’s hard to imagine that one household’s actions could negatively or positively impact the environment, remember that millions of other households are probably thinking the same thing, therefore making the choice to reduce your carbon footprint may be nothing but helpful. Here are some ways to easily reduce your footprint:
Change Your Transportation
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, personal vehicles are a major contributor of global warming and account for nearly one-fifth of all US emissions, which equals around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide for every gallon of gas. Although car owners can become more conscientious by opting to trade in their old gas guzzler for something like a hybrid or a high mileage gas vehicle, choosing to ride a bicycle more often can reduce your carbon footprint.
If driving a vehicle is your best and/or only option, keep your car in good working order, make sure the tires are properly inflated, avoid gridlock, get rid of unnecessary weight in your car, and make the most of your trips by running multiple errands.
Don’t Waste Energy at Home
Does your family have the terrible habit of leaving on all the lights in the house? Leaving the lights on can not only run up your electric bill, but it can make your footprint much larger than it needs to be. If you haven’t already replaced your regular incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, do it now. Other ways to reduce the waste of energy in your home is by making sure your home is properly insulated. Don’t have the money to properly weatherize your home? Check to see if you qualify for loans or incentives for making your home more energy friendly. Experts also recommend replacing your appliances with energy efficient models and consider adding solar panels to your home.
Other ways reduce the size of your carbon footprint includes, but are not limited to: cutting down on your water usage, participate in recycling and/or composting, and even eating locally produced foods. Did you know that approximately 13% of greenhouse gases come from the transportation of our foods? The less the food needs to travel, the better.
With a little effort and planning, reducing your carbon footprint can be quite easy and may even save you money in the long run. Calculate your carbon footprint and make a vow to change for the future of your family and the environment.