In our previous post we have talked about why it is important to go carbon neutral. More importantly, we have talked about HOW everyone can easily become carbon neutral, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future. Mainly we have mentioned the three easy steps everyone can take to achieve this goal:
- Estimate your CO2 (and other greenhouse gases!) emissions.
- Keep your energy usage in check, reduce the emissions whenever possible.
- Compensate, or offset, the unavoidable emissions.
The process of estimating your own greenhouse gas emissions has already been described in detail. In this post we will focus on two remaining parts of the scheme: reducing your emissions where possible, and offsetting the unavoidable ones.
Reduce your carbon emissions
After you have estimated your own personal carbon footprint you can start thinking about reducing it. In many cases very simple actions from your side can already lead to some significant results. As soon as you start consciously thinking about it, you will notice that reducing your emissions is not that difficult of a task. And in the majority of the cases it does not have to significantly affect your lifestyle either. Below you can find some simple steps to reduce your own carbon footprint.
Leave your devices unplugged.
You probably don’t know it, but electronic devices use energy when plugged in, even when they are powered off. For example, it has been estimated that in the US such “vampire power” is responsible for $19 billion per year! So your mobile phone is contributing to your carbon footprint even when it’s not charging. And your TV is draining energy even when you are not watching it. Simply unplug your devices when you are not using them to avoid this unnecessary energy usage.
Eat local (and preferably organic).
It’s easy to guess that eating foods grown next to you drastically decreases the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere during the transportation. While this seems obvious, many people do not consciously think about it. Simply invest 1 second of your time the next time you are choosing the tomatoes from a supermarket, to glance at where they were produced. The closer to your location – the better! Moreover, choosing local seasonal products automatically means that you are getting the freshest food – it’s a win-win situation.
Dry your clothes on a line.
Not only is that better for your clothes, but also for the environment. The drying machine always returns your garments messy and wrinkled, but yes, they are very dry. However, one drier load uses up to 5 times as much electricity as one cycle of the washing machine. Moreover, dryers significantly reduce the lifetime of your clothes, making you buy new clothes more often – which is in turns much less sustainable and also increases your carbon footprint.
Eat less meat.
This is probably the most effective way to reduce your personal environmental impact. Recently it has been shown that agricultural business is responsible for even more emissions than fossil fuels usage! However, fossil fuels get significantly more attention in relation to climate change than agriculture. While it is also important to use fossil fuels less, people should get more aware that eating meat, especially red meat, has even worse consequences for the environment. You don’t have to give it up completely, simply eating less meat, or sometimes replacing you beef with poultry will have significant environmental benefits.
Offset the unavoidable emissions.
Obviously, not being responsible for any CO2 emissions into the atmosphere is impossible. We all use our laptops, fly to far-away destinations for holidays and do many other small things, giving up which would make us feeling miserable. To compensate for such unavoidable emissions – contribute to one of the many available carbon offset projects. Did you know that the flight search engine FlyGRN finds one of the best ticket prices and also offsets your carbon emissions for free (they use their own income for it, amazing!)