9 Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Our modern world is one of luxury and convenience.
In this era of mass industrialization and consumerism, there are very few needs of people which remain unfulfilled.
But today’s luxuries and conveniences come at a price!
And not just monetary price; the production and consumption of modern luxuries tax the Earth as well. Using fossil fuels for production, transport, energy production, etc. produces greenhouse gases, which, by virtue of the greenhouse effect, gradually warm the planet.
This effect is what we refer to as “global warming”.
So, to prevent global warming, we must primarily focus on reducing our carbon footprint (as carbon is the chief greenhouse gas).
But how do you do that?
Here are some helpful tips:
1. Cut Down on Your Use of Motor Vehicles
This point, perhaps, doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as we see smoke-belching exhaust pipes almost everywhere we go.
Indeed, the gases ejected by motor vehicles are greenhouse gases and rich in carbon content (primarily carbon dioxide).
These gases directly contribute to global warming, so, instead of using your car or motorcycle for short distances, try walking or riding a bicycle.
If you have to travel a long distance but don’t need your car, consider using public transportation, as, with all things considered, it is better for the planet than driving by yourself.
2. Switch Appliances Off When Not in Use
At some point or another, we’ve all been told to follow this, but how many of us actually do this?
Most of us know that the electricity needed to power our electrical appliances is generated in thermal power plants.
The thermal power plants generate electricity by burning coal, and a lot of carbon content is released into the atmosphere as waste.
If you turn your appliances off when not in use, it reduces the demand for electricity, meaning the power plants will burn less coal.
3. Embrace a Minimalist Lifestyle
A consumerist lifestyle centered around the incessant pursuit of acquiring material goods has been the cause as well as the effect of mass industrialization.
This industrialization, however, comes at a cost, and the Earth has to pay.
The exploitation of natural resources produces waste in the process, and this waste is rich in carbon content.
So, when you embrace a minimalist lifestyle, you reduce demand for goods and services, which in turn reduces the impact industry has on the environment.
4. Unplug Your Chargers When Not in Use
While we already discussed the importance of turning your appliances when not in use, this point deserves a special mention, and for a good reason.
It is a common belief that a charger not connected to a device does not draw power. Unfortunately, this belief is false.
In the U.S.A. alone, ‘vampire energy’ as it’s called, is responsible for drawing up to 19 billion dollars in power every year. 19 billion dollars!
So, instead of merely unplugging your device when it’s charged, unplug the charger as well.
5. Plant Some Trees
Planting trees is a wonderful way to rejuvenate the Earth’s atmosphere.
During the day, as part of their respiratory process, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen, thus reversing the effects of human activities on the environment.
Thus, if you were to plant a sapling and ensure that it grows to become a tree, you’d be doing the Earth a huge favor.
6. Replace Your Lights with CFL/LED Units
Undoubtedly, you have a lot of lights and bulbs in your home and office.
While remembering to switch them off when not in use is one thing, what about their carbon footprint when they’re on?
Traditional incandescent bulbs consume considerably more energy than LEDs, which are more efficient and effective.
For instance, incandescent bulbs have an energy conversion rate of 10-20% whereas LED lights have a conversion rate of 40-50%.
7. Use Renewable Sources of Energy
While this point may not be practical or feasible for most of us to carry out, even if some of us implement this, the benefits will be immense.
Instead of relying on thermal power plants for your power needs, consider installing solar panels.
While they are tricky to install, if you manage to get the setup to work, the benefits will be immense.
You will need considerable space, sunshine and time and energy for maintenance, and solar panels aren’t efficient enough to be implemented on a greater scale yet, but for residential applications, they should be adequate.
8. Go Vegetarian
While dietary preferences are a highly personal matter, going vegetarian or eating less meat for that matter can prove to be a boon for the planet.
Apart from energy production, industrial processes, and transportation, agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases in general.
For instance, the storage, processing and consumption of red meat produces five times more emissions than other poultry foods.
You don’t have to stop the consumption of meat; even if you reduce your meat consumption (the average American consumes 8.5 pounds of meat every day!), it will benefit the planet significantly.
9. Add Insulation to Your House Instead of Using the Heater
Heating and cooling your premises contributes in no small way to carbon emissions.
During the winters, nearly every American warms their house either by using a portable heater or using the central heating.
Clearly, these means increase the demand for electricity, which in turn creates more carbon-based waste, which is ejected into the atmosphere.
A cheap and effective solution is to insulate your home (the doors, windows, attic, etc.). This will prevent your home from becoming excessively cold and may eliminate the need for a heater.
Even if you feel the need to switch the heater on, the energy it’ll consume will be low as it’ll work in tandem with the insulation.
It is crucial that we reduce our carbon footprint as global warming has already reached alarming levels. Fortunately, it isn’t tough to do and requires only minor lifestyle changes. If each one of us were to do their bit, the effects of global warming can be minimized.