A person’s “carbon footprint” is defined as the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.
However, there are simple steps that you can take to help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases that you and your family produce. By reducing your own carbon footprint, it’s just a drop in the proverbial bucket, it’s true. But it’s a start. And more importantly, you may inspire others to reduce their own carbon footprints and start a chain reaction towards more environmentally-conscious living.
It’s an easy New Year’s Resolution to make to yourself, and you’re more likely to stick to it than your diet! Here are a few simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint throughout the year:
Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Many electric companies will actually come out to your home for a free energy inspection. Sometimes they’ll even switch your light bulbs to more energy efficient versions for you. No matter what, switching to low energy compact fluorescent bulbs will shave a few bucks off your energy bill, and is one of the easiest ways to cut down on excessive energy usage in the home. If you’re thinking about new appliances, check out the energy efficient ones. You’ll save a massive amount on those bills.
Eat Less Meat
For some people this is a tougher commitment than others. You don’t have to go full-blown vegan or vegetarian, but if you can restrict your meat consumption to one meal a day or adopt Meatless Mondays, you’ll save money on your grocery bill as well as significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Most factory farming techniques require an enormous amount of water and land resources, and animal agriculture is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions. Eating too much meat has also been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other health problems.
If you live in an area with decent weather, you have zero excuse not to bike or walk whenever you can. Even in winter, consider carpooling if no public transit is available. Carpooling or ridesharing will also cut down on your fuel costs, auto maintenance bills, and you won’t have to worry about scraping ice off of your car every single morning. It’s cheaper and it’s one of the most effective ways to reduce your whole family’s carbon footprint this year. Just stick to it, and save the car for only when you really need it!
You’ve heard it before, but it always bears repeating: reduce, reuse, recycle. If your city has a recycling system you have no reason not to use it. There are other ways to help cut down your carbon emissions and waste, though. Make a vow that in 2016 you’ll steer clear of plastic water bottles, plastic bags at stores, and coffee cups. Those are three insanely common and absurdly wasteful things that we’ve become blind to. They’re too easy to fix not to do so! Simply buy a reusable water bottle and a water filter, a handful of reusable bags to stuff in your purse or car, and a travel coffee mug. Now keep those nearby at all times, and think of all the trash you’re no longer creating with those simple switches.