Climate change is now one of the most widely discussed topics that I’m sure you’ve come across at least once. The problem is that there are too many unknowns about the cause and effects of climate change. To make this idea easier to comprehend, let’s try to break the problem down into simple, everyday solutions that everyone can understand and follow. Your day-to-day choices have a personal impact on the environment. This article aims to teach you how to reduce this impact.
What Is My Carbon Footprint?
Your carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere due to your lifestyle choices. It is largely influenced by the amount of energy used in your home and as a result of your transportation habits. This, however, is just a broad classification of your carbon footprint. Smaller decisions like the food consumed daily, the amount of water used, and the products you buy; also affect your carbon emissions.
Why Are Carbon Emissions Harmful?
The reason why carbon emissions are so harmful is that they tend to trap the sun’s heat within the Earth’s atmosphere. This trapped heat is what leads to global warming—a gradual rise in the overall temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere.
So, How Can I Reduce My Carbon Footprint?
By making a few simple changes, you can reduce your carbon emissions. Remember, a few small changes go a long way!
- Optimise Your Home
When you are buying new home appliances, make sure they are energy efficient. Look for appliances with the BEE Star Rating on them. They are usually recognized for having better efficiency. Try to switch out all your incandescent lightbulbs for LED ones. These are more energy-efficient and long-lasting. So, not only will you be reducing your carbon emissions but saving money as well. If you use a thermostat in your house, make sure you don’t set it too high or too low. Install a programmable model that will automatically turn off the heat/air-conditioning when not in use.
Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to use a rooftop solar plant to power your house. With an increase in the rooftop solar economy, solar installation processes are now more affordable and convenient. Look for good rooftop solar installation companies that can help you choose the best plant for your family needs. One such company that can help you with your whole rooftop solar installation from start to finish is SafEarth.
An added benefit is if the state you are living in has a Net Metering law. This could help you eliminate your entire electricity bill or even help you earn money by selling the excess electricity generated back to the grid.
Beware Of Vampire Power!
This is, unfortunately, a widespread problem that all of us have played a part in causing. Vampire Power, also known as Standby Power is the loss of power due to a vampire/standby load. By this, we mean the electricity that many gadgets and appliances waste by being plugged in—even if they are switched off. Individually, gadgets like phone chargers and electric toothbrushes might not make a huge difference, but when combined on a global scale, the picture is far more troubling.
Studies have found that vampire energy loads account for 5-10% of the total electricity in residential homes and accounts for about 1% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. You can easily reduce these costs and emissions by unplugging your electronic appliances when not in use. Use a power strip to turn all your devices off at once, or set them to energy save mode when you are leaving the house.
- Reduce Water Wastage
Lower your water usage by using low-flow shower and faucet heads; you can also use water-efficient washing machines, dishwashers, etc. By installing a low-flow showerhead, you can save 350 pounds of CO2 a year. Also, don’t forget to regularly check for leaks in pipes and faucets. They could be costing you unnecessarily. You can also grow climate-appropriate plants in your garden and use drip-irrigation to water them.
- Eat Locally Sourced Food
Locally sourced food comprises of organically grown fruits, vegetables, and grains. Livestock—meat and dairy—is responsible for almost 15% of greenhouse gas emissions that are released into the atmosphere. By choosing local seasonal foods, not only will you be eating healthier, but you will also be saving those fossil fuel emissions that would have arisen due to the transportation of processed food over long distances.
Apart from just changing your food habits, a good principle to follow is to cut down on your food waste completely. You can do this by using a meal preparation plan to plan your meals for the whole week on the weekends and buying food needed for the whole week in bulk. This will help reduce your consumption of processed food over the week as you will then have easier access to home-prepared meals. Excess food should be frozen and reused instead of just being discarded. Food waste should also be composted as this compost can then be used as a natural fertilizer in your garden. Always keep in mind that the food you eat is more important than the place that it comes from.
These three steps will help you reduce your carbon emissions considerably. In addition to these changes, exercising your rights and your voice is one of the most significant things you can do to help reduce carbon emissions. Voice your support for local government policies that encourage sustainable living and vote for policies that support the protection of the environment. Your voice matters, you can make a huge difference in curbing the effects of climate change.