A hotter Earth is an inevitable fact of our lives. While there still might be quibbles about the chief causes and accelerators of global warming, the simple fact remains that the Earth’s temperature has risen approximately 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 250 years with over half of that change occurring in the last 50 years.
The good news is you can work towards slowing down the heating of the Earth by adopting a few eco-friendly practices.
3 simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint
1. Shop Local
One of the best things you can do, not just to reduce your carbon footprint but also help out your community is buying local produce and other foodstuffs. Now at first you might be asking yourself “How does buying food at the famer’s market help fight global warming?” Well the Sierra Club provides a splendid explanation of how purchasing local is an easy and beneficial way to play a part in lowering carbon emissions; they write
Buying food that is produced locally not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but also has many additional benefits. Shopping at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, pick-your-own operations, and joining CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture programs) helps keep dollars in the local economy, allows you to learn more about where your food comes from and how it is produced, keeps small family farms in business, and provides a regular opportunity for a community gathering (in the case of farmers’ markets).
Probably the biggest pain in buying local is going out and just getting a bearing on your options but once you do the doors open up to having a more sustainable and healthy food supply for you and your family! If you happen to need help check out services like Local Harvest which maintain databases of farmers markets all around the country.
2. Change your bulbs
Another helpful hint that only requires a bit of handy work is switching the light bulbs in your house to compact fluorescent bulbs. These marvels of modern technology
“…use at least two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and they last up to 10 times longer. Compact fluorescent light bulbs also generate 70 percent less heat, so they are safer to operate and can also reduce energy costs associated with cooling homes and offices.”
In order to fully understand the benefit of what changing light bulbs can do take a look at this free individual emissions calculator provided by the EPA here. Not only would such a change be beneficial to your energy bill these bulbs are also wholly more efficient and economic for your household in the long run.
3. Live by the 3 R’s…
The last bit of advice is probably one you’ve heard for a long time: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Reducing your unnecessary expenditures not only lessens your impact on the environment but also improves your bottom line. Just try to keep track of what you’re buying, why you’re buying it, and always ask yourself: “do I really need this”. Staying away from unnecessary purchases is an easy way to cut back on your environmental footprint.
One of the biggest changes we’ve undergone as a society in the 21st century is that people hardly fix or maintain things anymore. An unfortunate aspect of the technological leaps our society has recently made is that now 6 months after you’ve bought a new electronic product a newer, better version comes out. Unless that new version happens to be more environmentally friendly then the original, chances are that you’ve increased your carbon footprint for incremental increases in functionality.
Three common areas that could benefit from a reusing principle are paper plates, plastic bags, and plastic water bottles. If you’re from a family like mine where the fine china only comes out for those special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and grandma’s birthday then you probably go through paper plates by the droves. A quick fix to this would be to switch to either biodegradable plates (and even matching utensils) or green dinnerware.
Plastic bags can be useful for certain situations but you don’t need to have your groceries or other shopping items always placed in a plastic bag when you have the option of getting reusable, eco-friendly designer bags. Water-resistant, totally reusable, safe for groceries and other perishables, and did I mention they come in a variety of colors and patterns? Plastic water bottles totally changed how water could be carried and consumed but unfortunately tons of plastic are used each year to produce millions of bottles that will ultimately end up in landfills, or the ocean. In order to mitigate this unwanted waste check out eco-friendly bottles that look great and are good for the environment.
It can be tough to recycle outside of the home but remember that it’s as easy as just setting up a bin in your office or work place and making sure it gets taken out. While you are at home keep your mind on the same strategy – the more you facilitate your recycling the easier it will be to do. Always check online to make sure what you’re about to throw out can’t be recycled. Batteries, ink cartridges, TV’s, and even childhood toys can be recycled in one way or another (preferably the toys should be donated if possible).
All in all there are several different routes that lead to the same goal of a cleaner Earth. Remember that it only takes each of us doing a little bit every day to change the world and protect the planet from the threats posed by global warming.