There are so many ways to be more environmentally friendly, with new reusable products being released every day! The phrase ‘CARBON FOOTPRINT’ may be something that you’ve seen pop up here and there - bamboo toothbrushes, reusable plastic bags, keep cups or airlines giving you the option to contribute to carbon offsets from your flight. But, what exactly is a carbon footprint, what does it mean for the environment and how can you do your part?
By definition, it is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization and/or community. For example, driving your car (burning fuel) releases a certain amount of carbon dioxide. Even when we buy food, goods or any kind of physical product, these will all release different amounts or the process used to make them will have. Therefore, your carbon footprint will be a combination of the carbon dioxide released via the creation of products you buy, how often you drive (or fly) and the electricity that you use!
The reason we want to avoid releasing these gases into the environment is that it directly results in the overall warming of the planet (global warming). Obviously, it would be next to impossible to have no carbon footprint at all. However, there are so many ways that we can minimize ours and live as environmentally friendly as possible!
1. Swap your car for public transport (or walking) wherever possible
By carpooling or using public transport, we can reduce the emission of carbon dioxide quite drastically, as instead of thousands of drivers on the road there would be a few trains, buses or carpoolers. Another step further than this would be walking or cycling. Not only are you increasing your daily activity, but you are reducing the emissions by 100%!
2. Reduce your meat intake
Raising, feeding, hydrating and slaughtering cattle all produces a large amount of greenhouse gas. You do not need to completely cut out meat and animal products, however, be mindful of how much you consume compared to how much you need to consume. When you do purchase meat, try to source it from sustainably farmed butchers! Look for organic, grass-fed options and consume only what you need. An easy way to estimate your protein needs for each meal is to aim for a palm-sized serve of protein-rich food.
3. Ditch the dryer
Machine drying your clothes is a thing of the past! One dryer cycle uses 5 times the energy than a washing cycle, and is simply not necessary when a clothesline, open air and a little bit of patience can do this job for you! Try to save enough washing for a full load, then take the time to hang it out on the line to significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Remember to switch off
Switch off the lights when you aren’t in the room, powerpoints when you are not using them, chargers when you are fully charged and basically any electrical appliance that you don’t need! We can save so much energy (and therefore reduce our carbon footprint) by remembering to switch off.
5. Choose reusable
There are hundreds of keep cups out there that you can choose from, whether you need it for a coffee, juice or a smoothie. These days it is almost more normal to take your keep cup to the coffee shop rather than be given a coffee cup, which is amazing! If you’re a smoothie or iced latte person, try looking into a reusable straw to carry with you too! These small things that we can do every day may not seem like they matter, but when everyone makes these small changes, we will see big change across the globe, which is necessary if we want to continue to live a life of comfort on this beautiful planet for years to come!