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The issue of how to reduce carbon footprints is becoming increasingly important. Our planet is suffering, and we need to be a bigger part of the solution. But what exactly is a carbon footprint?
Put simply, it’s a way of measuring how many greenhouse gas emissions a person or group creates. These gases, for example, methane and carbon dioxide, cause global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere.
As such, carbon footprints are the sum of the greenhouse gases that people create, normally calculated in tons per year. The calculation enables us to quantify our contribution to global warming. This is important, because lowering our footprint can help to reduce climate change and safeguard our planet’s future.
To help in this department, the following article explains useful methods for reducing your carbon footprint.
Carbon emissions come from a wide range of different sources. This includes activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation. The pie-chart below breaks down the causes of greenhouse emissions.
To determine what your own carbon footprint is, you can use one of the many free online calculators such as:
While varying in the amount of detail they require, each of them work in similar ways. You will be asked a series of questions about your lifestyle. Your answers are then used to evaluate the volume of greenhouse gases you produce.
Once you’ve established what your carbon footprint is, you can begin to take steps to reduce it. This will require examining various aspects of your life. To assist you in this regard, here are some handy tips on how to reduce your carbon footprints.
One of the fastest ways of reducing carbon footprints is eating less meat. Dairy and meat farming is a significant source of greenhouse gasses. This is because the livestock that is raised in this industry creates methane. As a greenhouse gas, methane is one of the worst contributors to global warming.
In addition to this, animal farming is a leading cause of deforestation. Whereby trees absorb greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere to slow the advancement of global warming, they can no longer do this after being cut down. Moreover, the gasses they had previously stored are then released back into the atmosphere.
This means eating more plant-based foods will help reduce your contribution to this damaging process.
By now everyone is aware of the harm that running a car can do to the environment. As the vehicle burns fossil fuels like petrol, it also produces carbon dioxide. In 2018, research found that road traffic had caused as much as 17% of all greenhouse gas emissions that year.
Using your motor vehicles less will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. To achieve this, you can look into greener modes of transport, such as cycling. Alternatively, you could make more use of public transport.
On the subject of transportation methods, another damaging one is air travel. Aeroplanes burn enormous amounts of fuel during flight. This produces an equally large amount of greenhouse gas, and the numbers continue to rise. Researchers have gone as far as estimating that airline emissions could triple by 2050.
As a result of this, it’s important for people everywhere to limit their amount of plane travel. Instead of going on holiday to another country, consider a vacation closer to home. Camping or renting a cottage is far greener, and an extremely pleasant way to relax and enjoy your free time.
Electronic devices use electricity when they’re plugged in, even if they’ve been turned off. As most people are unaware of this, it causes vast amounts of unnecessary power usage. In America alone, it has been estimated that this results in the use of $19 billion worth of energy annually. This is roughly the amount of electricity produced by 50 large power plants.
So, if you’re asking yourself “how can I reduce my carbon footprint”, there is a simple answer: unplug your devices. Leaving them plugged-in while they’re off produces unnecessary emissions and is a huge waste of money.
While getting toasty dry clothes out of the dryer may feel great, it is terrible for the environment. Dryers use five times the electricity that washing machines use.
So a word of advice if you want to reduce your carbon footprint is to use a clothesline. By line-drying your clothes instead, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your laundry by 33%. You will also benefit from a greatly reduced energy bill.
Heat and electricity production contributes roughly 30% of all CO2 emissions in Europe. Similar figures can be expected in other parts of the world.
You can also shrink your carbon footprint by using a low-carbon energy provider. Many providers will generate their power by burning fossil fuels. As previously established, this is one of the main causes of greenhouse gases. However, an increasing number of energy companies are generating electricity from renewable sources like wind farms and solar panels. Switching to these low carbon energy providers is a great way to slow down climate change
The fashion industry produces vast quantities of extremely cheap clothes and it’s a big problem. These low-cost clothing items are terrible for the environment because they encourage a disposable culture.
Clothes are frequently worn a few times only before being discarded and sent to landfills. In the USA alone in 2013, over 15 million tons of textile waste was generated. The vast majority of this was sent to landfills. When everything including transportation throughout the supply chain is factored in, it’s easy to see how greenhouse gas emissions can quickly ramp up.
To avoid contributing to this destructive pattern, avoid purchasing cheaply made clothes. Instead, visit second-hand stores and repurpose old clothes. Alternatively, you can purchase vintage items and engage in clothes swaps. All of these activities will help reduce your carbon footprint.
Before water makes its way out of your taps, it has to be both treated and transported. Both of these activities require the burning of fossil fuels. It goes without saying that water is essential to our survival. But by simply modifying your water usage, you can significantly mitigate your carbon footprint.
There are many simple and practical steps you can take on this front. Rather than running a bath, have a shower instead. Doing so can save up to four times the amount of energy you’re using. Using a low-flow shower-head will make cleaning up even greener.
Furthermore, ensure that you’re turning off the tap when doing things like brushing your teeth or shaving. Similarly, if any of your taps leak then get them fixed as soon as possible. Failure to do so can cause up to 3,000 gallons of wastewater in a year. That’s enough water for 180 showers, which equates to six months of showering if you do so once per day.
Another good idea is to harvest water from the rain via a rainwater tank, where possible. It is a more energy efficient manner of using water.
That’s everything you need to know about how to reduce carbon footprints. The next step is to start making some small changes to your lifestyle. In no time at all, you’ll be living a greener, more sustainable life.