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Devastating wildfire seasons, super hurricanes and rising sea levels. The news is filled with the horrible consequences of human impact on the environment. Many people have heard about their carbon footprint and would like to find ways to become more environmentally conscious.
Well, let’s start with the definition. Your carbon footprint is a measure of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane generated by every step of your lifestyle. These gases are the primary culprit in global warming, climate change and air pollution. Read on for a list of three things you can do to help the environment by reducing the amount of greenhouse gas you generate.
Solar has myriad benefits. Unlike fossil fuels, it helps reduce, and can possibly even reverse, climate change. The burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity results in huge carbon emissions that heat the planet, leading to the greenhouse effect. Those same carbon emissions create pollution, damaging lungs and reducing quality of life. If you’d like to be part of the interconnected smart grid of tomorrow, or if you’d like to live off the grid entirely, solar is the way to go. To find a local provider try searching for “solar companies near me.”
You don’t have to go vegetarian, simply reducing your red meat intake to a couple of days a week can have a huge impact on the environment. So, what’s the link between cows and the environment? Raising livestock, especially in factory farms require vast tracts of land. In fact, it’s bout 30% of the land on the planet. The amount of forests destroyed for cow grazing is massive. Rather than feeding people, we are feeding livestock. Each serving of red meat you eat increases your carbon footprint by at least 20 times and 100 times the land use compared to the same serving of vegetables.
When people think about the environment, clothing doesn’t usually spring to mind, but it should. Fashion accounted for about 4% of the total global greenhouse gases in 2018. Part of which come from synthetic fibers. “Synthetic fiber” is another way of saying fabrics made from plastics. We can see the cost of these synthetics in our laundry, where plastic particles flow into landfills. They wash into the ocean; where fast fashion products which are quickly bought and discarded sit and never break down; and in our air, through the pollution created.
Recycling fast fashion is not a solution. So much is recycled that there is no use for it. You can help break the cycle by reducing clothes shopping, buying second-hand, avoiding fast-fashion brands and purchasing natural fiber clothing. As mentioned above, recycling only works where there is a market for the recycled product. Metal, like aluminum and steel are easily recycled, as are plastic bottles, cardboard and glass.
Remember though that items like bottled water create more of a carbon footprint than just the plastic bottle. There is a huge cost in transporting bottled water from the source to your local store. Consider reusing those bottles until you can do nothing with them but recycle. If you are concerned about contaminated water, or boil-water orders, you are better off storing boiled or clean local water in a water barrel. While it is plastic, it is a one-time purchase that can be used over and over.
Some of these options are more time, money, and labor-intensive than others, but on the whole, it will never cost you more money in the long run to be eco-friendly. By planning for the long-term and reducing consumption now, you will be able to protect the environment and your wallet at the same time.
Author: Finnegan Pierson
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