As a Geography teacher, part of my job is to explain how people’s carbon footprints may affect how the climate is changing. Reducing your carbon footprint is an important step in helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
There are a number of ways we can all contribute to reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses by reducing our own carbon footprint.
- Reduce your energy consumption: Turn off lights and electronics when not in use. Use energy-efficient LED bulbs. If you have solar panels on your home, make use of that free energy, set you washing machine, dryer or dishwasher to run when the sun is out.
- Use public transportation or carpool: Use public transportation, carpool or car share to reduce your transportation-related carbon emissions. There are methods you can use to reduce fuel consumption; tap your brakes well in advance and slow down naturally instead of braking hard, where it is safe, avoid stopping, accelerate gradually. Keep your air conditioning off when it’s not required.
- Reduce meat consumption: Meat production has a high carbon footprint. You don’t need to become a vegetarian. By reducing your meat consumption, you can help reduce your carbon footprint. You don’t need to become a vegetarian! But you could cut meat out of your diet for two days a week – or go veggie for a month.
- Use reusable bags and containers: Reduce your use of single-use plastics by using reusable bags and containers.
- Conserve water: Conserving water can help reduce the energy needed to pump and treat water. You can conserve water by taking shorter showers, fixing leaks, and using water-efficient appliances.
- Buy local and seasonal produce: Buying local and seasonal produce reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting and storing food. And, of course, your local farmer will appreciate you as a customer! The quality of local produce is usually better too.
- Consider renewable energy: If possible, consider installing solar panels or wind turbines to generate renewable energy. Also, shop around for energy providers who use renewable sources. Even some internet service providers are carbon neutral or use renewable energy.
- Reduce air travel: Air travel is a significant contributor to carbon emissions. Consider reducing your air travel or purchasing carbon offsets to compensate for your flights. Explore closer to home or enjoy the journey itself as part of your holiday – you see more of a country travelling by train or bus and get to stop off at different places.
- Recycle and compost: Recycling and composting can help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, which produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
- Support climate-friendly policies: Support policies and politicians that prioritise climate action, and encourage others to do the same. Make a stance yourself – run a campaign, write articles, join or start your local facebook environmental face group and organise events that help reduce our environmental impact or highlight the issues of climate change.
Just remember – all our small changes add up to make a big difference!