The climate crisis can be overwhelming, but there are choices you can make every day to reduce your impact on the environment. This season the Earthlove Community voted to focus on reducing our carbon footprint. Here's an overview and breakdown for each month (we'll be releasing more posts and worksheets focusing on each one in the coming months!)
What is a "carbon footprint"?
A carbon footprint is a method of measuring the amount of greenhouse gases you emit into the atmosphere based on your daily life. From travelling and watching tv to eating and washing dishes, almost everything has a 'footprint' that contributes to global warming. According to the Nature Conservancy, the average carbon footprint for a person in the US is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world (the global average is 4 tons). This season we challenge you to asses your own footprint and take steps to reduce your impact following these tips.
Month One: Manage Energy at Home
The energy we use in our homes is a big contributor to carbon emissions. Do an energy audit of your home and assess what needs changing. Switch to incandescent light bulbs, turn lights off when you're not using them, turn your water heater down, install a low-flow showerhead, switch to solar if its available in your area or clean energy. You can also increase the energy efficiency of your home by planting shrubs, seal any troubled spots in attics, windows, and doors and trees around it or installing a cool roof.
Month Two: Eat a More Plant-based Diet
Livestock—meat and dairy—is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from feed production and processing and the methane (25 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over 100 years). Eating fruits, veggies, grains, and beans go a long way to reducing your carbon footprint (and is healthier too!). If you are not currently following a plant-based diet, explore ways to reduce your meat and dairy and opt for at least one meat-free meal per week.
Month Three: Travel Consciously
An average car produces about five tons of CO2 each year (although this varies according to the type of car, its fuel efficiency and how it’s driven). An easy way to reduce your carbon footprint is to only drive when needed. Walk or bike if possible. If you drive, avoid unnecessary breaking and accelerating and practice trying to follow the rhythm of the road. Take care of your car: keep tired inflated and everything maintained. Combine errands to reduce trips around town. Avoid flying if possible and use other means of transportation.