So, I recently checked my carbon footprint for an assignment I had to do. And I was excited and curious because I had changed my lifestyle so much and wanted to see how much of a difference it made.
And I wanted to share with you how to drastically reduce your carbon footprint.
It surprised me pleasantly just how much of a difference simple switches can make in reducing my carbon footprint. Soo, drumroll please, if everyone lived like me we would need 1.6 earths to live sustainably.
It’s not perfect and it’s not ideal, I can still make a lot of changes. But it’s a big difference compared to the 2.5 earths result I got 2 years back.
I can still do a lot to improve it, like eat homegrown vegetables (once I figure out how to actually keep them alive) and a big goal I have is using solar power in the future.
What I learned
What the survey did make me realize was that the two main problems I had which were causing my footprint to be so high was that my house used coal-derived electricity and that most of the food I eat comes packaged in plastic
Two very big issues that are hard to fix on my side because where I live in South Africa they don’t have alternative energy sources and they don’t build eco-friendly houses.
I don’t have the capital to set up my own solar panels, yet anyway. And it’s not even my house. I live with my parents.
The second issue is that I also don’t buy the food, but I am trying to persuade my parents to go to the Boeremark (Afrikaans for farmers market) and buy local, unpackaged produce.
There’s also a third problem that I noticed. I make use of the car to go almost everywhere, even though I don’t go to places often. One big reason is that South Africa’s public transport isn’t always reliable or safe.
There also isn’t a lot of provisions for cyclers where I live and normally I use the highway to get where I want to be.
I’m not sure if it’s carpooling if you go somewhere with your entire household or with friends, because I never go somewhere alone.
I did say when I took the survey that I carpool all the time. If you know something about this please tell me in the comments.
Ok, so that’s my carbon footprint story, now I’m going to help you with yours.
Here’s what you can do to drastically reduce your carbon footprint:
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1. Take a carbon footprint survey often
It’s the quickest way to see where you can make changes to your lifestyle and what forms the biggest chunk of your carbon footprint.
This will also allow you to review your lifestyle and how well you’re doing in terms of reducing your carbon footprint.
It will also keep you accountable to make more sustainable choices. You can take the survey here or just google carbon footprint calculator.
I’m sure you’ll find one easily.
2. Buy local produce
You can save a lot of carbon emissions by buying produce that was made near you. Less fuel is used to carry the produce to your local market.
You will be supporting local farmers and in turn the local economy.
Everybody wins. You can also include this as a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative for your business if you own a restaurant or any organisation that handles food in any manner.
3. Shop online
Why, you ask? Because it takes a lot of fuel to carry whatever you want to buy to the shop you were going to buy it from.
And then it takes more fuel for you to get to the shop and go back home again.
To offset all this carbon being emitted you can just cut out the middle man and buy your stuff straight from the warehouse and get it delivered to your door. That’s one trip and not many.
4. Eat less red meat
Or cut it out completely. It takes a lot of water and land area to make the meat you eat. 1,910 gallons of water per pound of beef to be exact, according to Beef Research.
What’s more, cows produce a lot of methane on top of carbon dioxide. Methane warms the earth much quicker than carbon dioxide.
To reduce your footprint more you can even eat less meat in general. Go big and go vegan, perhaps?
5. Eat less dairy products
I struggle with this one personally. It’s so hard for me not to drink milk. But dairy still comes from cows, who poop and burp a lot, drink a lot of water and eat a lot. It all adds up to a lot of methane and carbon dioxide.
It’s kind of the same thing as eating the cow, but there are slightly less dairy cows than meat cows because you can get more produce out of the dairy cow.
Or that’s my reasoning at least. Still, it plays a huge part in your carbon footprint.
6. Support companies who offset carbon emissions
These are companies that plant trees when you buy a product, donate some of their proceeds to organizations whose initiatives are to help the planet, or who invest in environmental initiatives like renewable energy.
I do this by using GreenGeeks as my web host provider. They offset their account usage by 300% using renewable energy.
If you own a website or an online business, using Greengeeks is a great way to implement sustainable business practices.
Go to their website by clicking the button below to see if GreenGeeks is a good fit for your business. They now have a Webinar portal too with great tips on running your business.
7. Drive less
If you’re going somewhere you could’ve walked to, like meeting someone for brunch at a coffee shop close to you, choose not to drive.
If you can walk, do so. A bonus for this one is that if you had a big meal you won’t feel so stuffed when you get home because you burned some of it off.
Also, cycle if you don’t want to walk. Just don’t use the car as much if it’s safe and possible where you live.
Do this if walking or cycling isn’t possible. I’m not sure how this will affect your carbon footprint according to the survey, but they put it in there so it must do something.
Carpooling can be a good way to offset carbon emissions because instead of one person going somewhere there are a few people.
If all those people got into their own cars and drove to one place, it would mean a lot more carbon emissions than all those people getting into one car.
9. Build an eco-friendly house
If you have a lot of money burning in your pocket and you want to build a house, why not hire yourself some smart people and build an environmentally friendly house.
It might be a lot of capital but eventually, it will pay for itself.
The world needs more eco-friendly houses running on renewable energy. If you have this, you will blow your carbon footprint out of the park.
10. Sue the government
I’m not even kidding.
According to Matthew Shribman, you can sue the government for not doing enough to protect the environment. So be ambitious and sue them.
I have not tried to sue the South African government yet because frankly, I’m a little scared to and I don’t want to do it alone. If you know how and you want to do it, comment below and I will back you up.
I hope these tips were helpful for you and that you take something from this, anything.
If it’s all too much to take in, just pick one option from the list and stick with it diligently. Every little bit counts towards making a difference.
If you want some more tips you can check out my related articles below. Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful and any other tips you might have.
If we work together we can lessen
Cheers for now,
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