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When the world first went into lockdown due to the coronavirus, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions temporarily fell by 8.8 percent in the first six months of 2020. Unfortunately, the positive news was short-lived. Not long after lockdown measures were lifted, CO2 emissions increased once again, and experts predict that they’ll make a full rebound during 2021 and beyond.
If we’re to make meaningful progress towards our climate change goals, we need government-implemented policies and programs designed to help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions — plain and simple. But there are also plenty of personal steps you can take to help save the planet. Read on to find out how to reduce your carbon footprint to make a positive impact on the environment.
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions an individual contributes to the environment. Greenhouse gases — such as carbon dioxide and methane — trap heat in our atmosphere and cause global warming.
Put another way, your personal carbon footprint is a measurement of how much your lifestyle impacts the environment. It’s calculated by adding up all the emissions from your activities — from the groceries you buy to your daily commute. You can calculate your carbon footprint by using this online calculator from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Figuring out how to reduce your carbon footprint can be tricky when you don’t know where to begin. However, making small changes to your daily routine — like using plastic-free lotion bars instead of bottled lotion and biking to work — can make a positive impact on the environment. Here are a few ways to get started.
Remember the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. The stuff we buy — whether it’s the latest iPhone or a cozy sweater — takes a lot of energy to produce. Plastic in particular has a massive carbon footprint because it’s made from oil or natural gas, which is one of the reasons why many of us are making the switch to low-waste products.
Here are a few ways you can put the three Rs into practice:
One of the best ways you can reduce your carbon footprint is by driving less. According to the EPA, transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions — and of carbon dioxide, in particular.
While walking is one of the greenest ways to get around, it’s not feasible for everyone. Instead, try to reduce how much time you spend driving by using these strategies:
Source: matuska/Shutterstock.comEating less meat is essential to curbing climate change. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gases.
Switching to a plant-based diet can lower your carbon footprint and improve your health. If you’re a meat-lover, start small by cutting back on how much meat you consume each week. Also, try to choose chicken over carbon-intensive beef whenever you can.
Did you know that food waste accounts for roughly six percent of greenhouse gas emissions? A substantial amount of energy and natural resources go into making our food, and when we waste still-edible food, it produces methane — a powerful greenhouse gas that is much more potent than carbon dioxide.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to cut back on food waste:
When we think about lowering household energy use, many of us think about installing solar panels. But if that’s not doable, there are plenty of other ways to “green” up your home. (Bonus: Some of them may help cut your utility bill!)
We only have one Earth, so let’s take care of it together. At The Earthling Co., we’re doing our part to lower carbon emissions by shipping plastic-free and using 100 percent recyclable materials. We also carbon offset your package!