What can you do to reduce your carbon footprint? (10 things you can do right now)

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If you’re wondering what can you do to reduce your carbon footprint…then you’re in the right place. We’ll look at 10 ways you can personally reduce carbon emissions – and you can start right now.

What can you do to reduce your carbon footprint?  10 things you can do right now to reduce your carbon footprint

Let me guess: you know the huge impact that humans are having on the earth and you want to do something about it. But you wonder, “How much can one person do?”

It can seem like the problem is too big for one person to tackle. And yes, one individual’s actions may not add up to much in the grand scheme of things, but imagine the cumulative effects of billions of individuals each doing their part. Then we’ll be starting to get somewhere.

To help climate change we need to:

  • reduce production of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere
  • and support the things that draw Carbon out of the atmosphere (sometimes called Carbon sinks).

So we need to think of ways to release LESS greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, AND we need to enhance the REMOVAL of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

To Summarize – When it comes to greenhouse gases to we need to:

Put less up and take more down.

10 Things you can do to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

1. Drive Less – Walk or cycle more

If you have a vehicle that runs on fossil fuels (e.g. gasoline, diesel or propane) you are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every time you drive it.

Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

Plan of Action:

Write down what trips you take in your vehicle during the week. Which ones are short distances? Start by swapping one or two of these vehicle trips with walking or cycling. Then schedule it, and do it.

2. Reduce Food Waste

Image by Tomasz Brzozowski from Pixabay

Buy what you’ll eat and eat what you buy.

In Western society most of the food waste occurs at the retail and consumer level. (So at the store and in your home.)

A lot of energy and water were used to produce that food, and to transport it to your house: only for you to throw it out.

Buying wisely at the store will help the environment, and it’ll help you save money. No sense in throwing your money into the garbage (or compost).

Plan of Action:

Create a meal plan. And stick to it as best you can. This will ensure you buy what you need and eat what you buy. Eat leftover dinners for lunch. Clearly write the meal and date on leftovers if you freeze them. (And then incorporate them into future meal plans so they don’t collect ice crystals.)

Need help meal planning? I have a free weekly meal planner template that can help you out.

3. Compost your food scraps

Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

As we discussed above you should try and reduce your food waste. But tossing your food scraps into the garbage can result in increase carbon emissions from landfills because of higher methane production. And methane is a more potent heat-trapping molecule than Carbon dioxide!

Plan of Action:

Can you compost at your house? Perhaps worm composting. If you can’t compost on your property – or if your city doesn’t have a food scrap pickup program – contact local farms and see if they accept household food scraps. Check your local retailers for a smell-free kitchen compost collector pail to keep in your kitchen. (Or use a pail with a lid.)

4. Buy from a Regenerative Organic Certified farm or company

There is a new certification that is starting called “Regenerative Organic Certified.” It aims to ensure that its certified farms do their best to promote and maintain soil health, animal welfare and social fairness for its workers.

To learn more about this program, click here.

“Vote” with your wallet. How you spend your money can have a big impact on helping the environment.

Plan of Action:

Check out the brands that are participating in this pilot program. And to stay up to date with progression of this certification process, follow them on Instagram.

5. Stop giving in to “Fast Fashion”

The “fast fashion” industry – or mainstream fashion industry as we know it – has detrimental impacts on the environment.

  • A large amount of water is used
  • Negative farming practices where the cotton is grown
  • The carbon emissions from the clothing being shipped from overseas (most clothing production occurs in Asia)

It is time to start thinking of “slow fashion” or the circular fashion economy.

Below is an Instagram photo from the company called Danu Organics. They are believers (and do’ers) of slow fasion and sustainable fashion. Check them out.

Plan of Action:

Don’t buy so many clothes. How much clothing do you really need? If you do need clothes, check out second-hand stores or online classified ads.

If you need new clothes check out these forward-thinking fashion companies:

6. Eat less meat

Image by RitaE from Pixabay

Eating less meat, and adopting a more plant-based diet can have big benefits for the environment.

Large swaths of land are being cleared to provide ranch land for cattle. Forests are carbon-capturers, and when we clear them so cattle can graze we are losing that ability to pull carbon from the atmosphere.

Does this mean you have to become a vegetarian? Well, it is your choice if you do want to do that, or you reduce your meat intake by eating more plant-based meals.

When people first read about this they may not understand, or it may really surprise them. To learn more about how eating a plant-based diet helps the environment, click here.

Plan of Action:

Start by eating a vegetarian meal one night per week. (Perhaps “Meatless Monday.”) Write a list of ways you could swap out a “meat meal” with a non-meat alternative. Example: instead of having beef in a burrito, have rice and beans instead. Challenge yourself to start eating more plants and less meat.

7. Support Girls education

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

When I first read about this in the book “Drawdown” I had to do a double-take. Girls education?

But it makes sense once you read it. The world is heavily populated. An educated girl is less likely to have children at a younger age, and will have fewer children.

Less humans on the earth means less mouths to feed, bodies to clothe, and overall less impact on the environment.

Plan of Action:

Educate yourself about the challenges that girls face when it comes to getting an education in the developing world. You could start by reading more on Malala.org Then you can decide how you are going to support girls education.

8. Turn off the lights (and other ways to reduce electricity usage)

Electricity production is responsible for approximately 25% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. (Reference: Drawdown website)

In many parts of the world electricity is still generated by burning fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.

How is electricity generated in your area?

Things you can do to reduce your electricity usage:

  • turn off the lights when you don’t need them
  • take shorter showers
  • take cooler showers
  • hang dry your clothes
  • turn down the heat a few degrees in the winter

Plan of Action:

Start hanging your clothes to dry. If you don’t already have a clothes hanger, click here to see my article about clothes hanger options. Time your average shower, then next time set a time for one minute less. Can you shower and wash yourself in less time?

9. Can you support a “Green” electrical company?

Image by Alexander Droeger from Pixabay

Does your local electricity company offer a “green” package of any kind?

Can you pay to have to your electricity generated from sustainable sources such as wind energy, solar power or geothermal?

Or are you in the position to invest in sustainable electricity generation for your own home? The cost of at-home renewable energy production – such as wind turbines and solar panels – has dramatically decreased in price.

Plan of Action:

Call your local electricity company. Ask if they have any green initiatives or sustainable energy initiatives. Watch the video above to get some basic information about renewable energy.

Why I chose greengeeks to be my website hosting provider

Looking to start your own blog? Check out why my GreenGeeks review (an ecofriendly web-hosting company)

10. Plant native plants in your yard

Many of us grew up thinking that a “nice yard” meant having green grass. But this simply isn’t “natural” for most areas.

Gas-powered lawn equipment causes a lot of pollution: air pollution from the exhaust, but also noise pollution.

If you don’t have a lawn, then you don’t need a lawn mower. It’ll save you money, and time.

So plant some native plants.

A native plant garden will help improve the bio-diversity of your neighborhood by attracting native animals to your yard. Just image all the beautiful birds and butterflies you’ll be able to watch right from your window!

And the water requirements of native plants are already adapted to your environment. They shouldn’t require excess watering once established.

If you do need power tools to maintain your yard or garden, you should check out AGZA. They believe that electric-powered lawn equipment is way better for the environment and for the neighborhood.

Plan of Action:

Contact your local nursery that specializes in plants native to your area. Walk around the nursery and look for plants that you like. Then plant a little “oasis” of native plants in your yard.

Want to ditch the lawn completely? Check out these 7 no-mow Lawn Alternatives

Lawn alternatives

Summary of these ways to reduce your carbon footprint

We have taken a brief look at 10 answers to the question, “What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?”

Wanting to help combat climate change as an individual comes down to choices, and then your actions.

If you truly want to do something to help prevent and reverse climate change, there are things you can do. You just need to start doing them.

And yes, you are only one person, but throughout history we have seen examples of when one person’s actions snowballs and creates a movement. Could you be the start of the “snowball” – even in your family or your neighborhood?

Are you going to be the catalyst and role model to show your friends, family, neighbors and others around the world that there IS something that can be done.

I think you can be. Be the snowball.

To learn more ways to be eco-friendly check out:

15 Green, Sustainable Kitchen Swaps that even you can make

How to make your kitchen more eco-friendly (15 ideas)

Want a more eco-friendly office? Check out this list of eco-friendly office supplies.

13 Eco-Friendly School Supplies

Eco friendly school supplies – a cool list of more green school supplies

Plus if you want to start your own blog or website – it is easier than you may think! – then you should check out why I picked the eco-friendly company called GreenGeeks to be my website hosting company.

Thank you,

Tim from LearnAlongWithMe.com

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