In addition to recycling, reducing one’s carbon footprint has become one of the major ways that individuals can contribute to saving the planet, but the words “carbon footprint” are often thrown around without a clear explanation.
A carbon footprint is a measure of how much our day to day activities impact the earth. Specifically, it refers to how much greenhouse gases are produced because of our activities.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and help prevent greenhouse gases.
Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Food
With every grocery shopping trip you take, you are supporting cross country shipping of foods. Cross-country (or out of the country) foods typically cost more than locally grown foods and they have the potential of harming the earth because of the fossil fuels used to transport them. While it’s naive to think that you can totally eliminate packaged foods, you can do a lot to support local agriculture.
Consider joining a community sponsored agriculture program (CSA). A CSA puts local farmers and residents in a mutually beneficial situation. The farmers co-op together to provide a weekly basket of locally grown produce. You will receive a diverse bunch of fruits and vegetables, most of which are organically grown. You can find a CSA in your area by searching online.
If there isn’t a CSA in your area, you can shop at a local farmer’s market. Local farmers benefit from your financial support and it encourages them to keep growing organic and more environmentally friendly foods. You will also get a chance to take part in an important community ritual.
Reduce Your Energy Usage
There are many steps you can take to reduce your home’s need for energy. If we all reduce our energy consumption, we can expect to see a reduced demand on our power stations and other parts of the network. Considering the fact that energy is a big issue in conservation and living more environmentally friendly, it’s important to do all you can to reduce the need for energy.
You can start by replacing your regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. CFLs use much less energy and they last a whole lot longer than traditional bulbs. They come in many different sizes these days so you should be able to find something to fit every outlet in your home.
You can also reduce your use of common energy-sucking appliances. Try to hang drying your laundry in the summertime so you can reduce your dependence on your dryer. Hand wash small loads of dishes rather than running the dishwasher. Invest in a small toaster oven so you don’t have to use your oven to reheat meals. Set your refrigerator’s temperature at 36 to 38 degrees and your freezer at 0 to 5 degrees for best energy usage.