Despite all the issues that are happening regarding climate change, it’s not too late for you to make a personal difference. The protection of our planet is a critical issue facing us today as is learning how to reduce our carbon footprint.
It may seem hopeless as there has been so much environmental damage – but this is the wrong approach to take. Every individual either contributes – or can combat – against the increase in carbon emissions.
Why Do You Need To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
When we’re talking about a carbon footprint, we’re talking about preventing the carbon emissions and greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The simple rundown is that these emissions (such as carbon dioxide) trap heat in the atmosphere. This causes the planet to warm up which is having negative effects around the world.
The increase in temperature is leading to more environmental disasters such as flooding, hurricanes, and the melting of the polar ice caps. The air quality has worsened and the increase in temperature has led to disastrous wildfires.
The carbon dioxide levels have skyrocketed in the last century because of the industrialization of society. The modern advances we’ve received have come at a cost. With the population of the earth growing at a rapid rate, the increase in pollution goes up. Cities are now full to the brim with vehicles and transportation, which have increased emissions.
The rise in factory farming has also caused an increase in carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, also leading to the warming of the planet. This may seem like this is all the effect from giant corporations and industries, but the average person is still contributing. It might not seem like much with the garbage you throw out and the car you drive, but all of this is adding up.
This article will look at 6 ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Reduce Your Red Meat Consumption
The amount of land use devoted to raising factory-farmed beef is astonishing. An immense amount of land is needed just to grow the plants that cattle eat and to hold the cattle themselves. The cattle give off their own methane gas, which also has been responsible for the increase in carbon in the atmosphere. Add to this all the machinery and transportation for all this livestock and beef and you’ve got a significant environmental issue.
There are a few ways you can deal with this situation. The first is to reduce your red meat consumption by taking at least one day a week where you only eat plants. Many tend to follow “meatless Mondays” as a way to accomplish this.
Another good option is to alter what type of beef you consume. The beef we’re referring to comes from these factory farmed, commercial feedlot animals which are not only damaging the planet but possibly your health. These animals are pumped full of hormones and chemicals, fed artificial foods, and get no activity.
As an alternative, look into grass-fed, farm-raised beef. This is a night and day different animal that is free to roam, eats grass as it’s intended, and is truly organic. They are not only a healthier choice but a better environmental decision. So look for local farms and farmer’s markets if you choose to eat beef to get the best version possible.
2. Switch To Chicken
If you aren’t planning to go on a plant-based diet, veganism, and still want a form of animal protein; opt for chicken over beef. This is a great choice if you seek to reduce your carbon footprint as it leaves a much smaller one. Studies show that eating beef is 10x worse for the environment than eating chicken.
Producing beef uses at least 28x more land, 11x more water, and a massive increase in carbon emissions over producing chicken. And again, this is looking at the factory-farmed chicken. When you move away from that to organic, local free-range chicken, it further reduces your carbon footprint. These again are much healthier animals that grow and live naturally so they are not only better for you, but better for the environment.
3. Use Your Vote Wisely
This is often a forgotten approach to reducing one’s carbon footprint but is very significant. We can’t forget about the people in power who can either make a change or make things worse. This doesn’t just have to be politics on a global or national level but in your local area.
Use your vote to support your local representatives who are devoted to environmental change. Support the parties that are looking to make a difference and invest in science to combat climate change. It doesn’t matter how small the area that you’re in is, it’s all significant to elect the right people to create policies that lead to change.
This can even be something you get involved with by helping a campaign, support, and fundraising. You may even be inspired and motivated to pursue this yourself.
4. Start Shopping Locally
This is partly related to points one and two but is a more focussed approach. Even though eating plant-based is a great idea, it still creates issues when you’re consuming things from the other side of the world. All the production and transport are not exactly friendly to the environment.
This is the time to look for as much local food as possible. The more food you can buy in your immediate vicinity, the better it is for your carbon footprint. There once was a time that we would only eat seasonal local foods, but now you can get any type of food, at any season, from anywhere in the world.
Cut down on all the transportation emissions that come from shipping this food between countries and find it nearby. You’d be amazed at how many farmer’s markets are probably right in your area. Eat locally, eat seasonally, and your health and environment will thank you for it.
5. Drive Less
This can be tough depending on where you live, but it’s another big way to reduce your carbon footprint. There are a few ways you can do this. If it’s possible, start walking or biking as much as you can. If that’s not an option, try to make use of your local transportation through subways or buses.
It’s not the perfect solution, but it helps you as an individual to lower your carbon footprint. If you work with people in your area, arrange carpools so a few of you can take one car instead of all taking individual cars. These are the actions that, when adopted by many, make for big changes.
6. Renewable Energy
This will be one of the big changes happening around the world in the next few decades. As the developing world continues to grow, it is imperative that they use the cleanest, more renewable energy possible. This is also important on a small scale, and you can help by contacting your energy provider and see if you can switch or invest in clean energy.
There is a rise in using solar panels and wind turbine power that is helping to provide power to houses, neighborhoods, and cities. See what’s available and see what you can switch to. You might be able to switch your home over to wind energy and never even knew.
Saying one person can’t make a difference is a very outdated approach. We all can make a difference, and if everyone looked into ways to reduce their carbon footprint, you could see real change happening. These changes don’t even have to disrupt your life that much.
And don’t feel you need to implement ten different changes all at once. Start with one change and gradually add in some more. This is the best approach to reducing your carbon footprint and becoming the change that the world needs.
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