Despite efforts to convince the public otherwise, climate change is underway. Carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels have sparked a rise in temperature, which has already begun to wildly alter the Earth’s weather patterns with harsher storms, rising sea levels and extreme heat and cold.
With such a large scale issue—and so much of the Earth’s carbon emissions coming from huge corporations—it’s easy to feel like one person’s actions can’t influence global emission levels. But that’s not necessarily true: Research suggests that individual citizens have the potential for actual environmental impact, whether it’s going carless, eating a plant-based diet, or avoiding air travel.
While those particular changes may not be realistic for every person, myriad other small steps can lessen your carbon footprint in potentially meaningful ways, as highlighted in“Realistic Ways To Combat Climate Change, Today,” created by the online Master of Public Health program at the George Washington University. The piece highlights ways to incorporate carbon-reducing habits into daily life and offers options spanning a range of costs, time commitment and effort levels. Some key offerings on green living, sustainable shopping and eco-friendly dining are discussed below:
How To Reduce Your Energy Use at Home
Adjust home energy-use habits in a variety of ways for more sustainable living. Easier options include taking shorter and colder showers, which saves water and reduces the energy that would be used with increased heat, and hanging your clothes dry to reduce use of extremely energy inefficient dryers. Those with central air or heating systems can use programmable thermostats to reduce energy use during times the space is unoccupied. For anyone looking to undertake a project with a heavier lift, insulating walls and attics traps heat in during winter and cold during summer, reducing the need for energy-powered heating and cooling systems.
How To Be A Sustainable Shopper
Choose brands and companies dedicated to eco-friendly business practices, for example, and thrift clothes and second-hand furniture as opposed to buying new. You can also save energy used during mail deliveries by grouping smaller online orders into one larger shipment, and selecting available options to ship all items together. On the recycling end, make sure to properly sort your items to ensure effectivity.
How To Dine Out in an Eco-Friendly Way
Your dining habits may be more energy inefficient than you think. Some habits to cut your carbon footprint, if realistic for your lifestyle, include buying locally grown, seasonal food and eating at restaurants that do the same. You can also employ reusable containers to reduce the use of plastic dishes and cutlery, and avoid food waste by ordering or buying only the amount you’ll actually eat. To really cut carbon emissions in your dining process, consider growing your own produce in a garden.
While lifestyle changes can feel daunting, contributing to global reduction of carbon emissions can be incorporated into your daily habits. Lowering the temp of your typical steamy shower, grouping your weekly online orders and reducing your use of plastic cutlery are all small changes that can go a long way.