We all know the devastating effects that climate change and global warming has on our environment. With atmospheric CO2 levels at 407.4 parts per million, they are the highest they have been in over 800,000 years, as such reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint is something of ever-growing importance.
So What Actually is a Carbon Footprint?
A Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere from the creation and operation of an activity, individual or organisation. Those greenhouse gas emissions trap and reflect heat, causing the planet to warm up, creating what is called the greenhouse effect.
Even though we all love warm summer days, this increased rise in temperature is nothing pleasant. The greenhouse effect wreaks havoc on the environment, contributes to severe weather events and is a major factor in climate change. It isn’t all doom and gloom though, and while policy changes are needed to help tackle the climate crisis, there are things we can all do everyday to limit and reduce our carbon footprint.
Skip the Plane, Take the Train
As famously pointed out by environmental activist Greta Thunberg on her voyage across the Atlantic on a zero-carbon sailboat, planes are some of the largest culprits in greenhouse gas emissions. A return trip from London to New York produces 986kg of CO2, that is a greater carbon footprint than an average citizen of Burundi produces in a whole year. Whenever possible do the Earth, and all of us, a favour and take the train instead.
When looking for your next holiday destination, try spending your break exploring your local area. Some incredible places can be found closer to home and you may end up discovering some hidden wonders you didn’t know were in your own backyard. So, next time you’re thinking of that long haul plane ride, challenge yourself to finding some amazing adventures that are just a train or bus ride away.
Buy Less Stuff and Recycle
One simple way to reduce your carbon footprint is to simply buy less stuff. Only buy what you need and when shopping check the brands you’re buying from to ensure they are taking steps to reduce their emissions. When you do get rid of things, recycle. Americans create 258 million tons of trash a year and just a fraction of this being recycled can create a huge impact in emissions reduction.
Switch to green energy
Unsustainable energy sources are major contributors to global warming and climate change, however, a recent study found that 63% of electricity in the US comes from burning fossil fuels. The energy industry is one of the most carbon intensive industries in the world, so making the switch to a renewable energy provider does wonders for reducing your carbon footprint. There are lots of great green energy providers out there to choose from and in doing so you can drastically reduce your environmental impact.
Manage your Food
Reducing your meat and dairy consumption is one way to reduce your carbon footprint. The meat and dairy industry has a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions, a 2019 report found that 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions came from the meat and dairy sector. With lots of great meat and cheese alternatives out there, cutting meat and dairy from your diet is now a convenient and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. If you love your roast beef too much though, there are other changes you can make. Buying local, organic food helps to cut down on food miles. Making sure you only buy what you will actually eat is another great strategy. Americans throw away an average of 40% of the food they buy, making sure you don’t overbuy food is great for both your wallet and combating global warming
Doing our part
Global warming and climate change are very real threats to our world and something that we all have a responsibility to help stop. Taking simple steps to reduce your carbon footprint is a way that we can all aid in the fight against climate change. Whether you choose to go vegan, take the train or switch to green energy, there are simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint, fight climate change and help protect our amazing world. Keep following our blog for more great tips and tricks on how to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.