Big carbon footprints tread heavily on the earth and stomp their effects far into the future. Your carbon footprint is the impact of your daily activities on the earth by burning fossil fuel for electricity, heating and transportation. How big is your footprint?
The US produces about 20 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person annually. The average worldwide is a mere four tons, close to the target ideal of two tons per person. Our gluttonous, high-energy lifestyle requires a long-term change in attitude and practices.
To walk more gently on the earth, take advantage of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal heating. While some may not be practical or economically affordable, adapt and integrate as many as possible to your current system and upgrade when possible. Tax credits and product rebates can offset initial expenses.
Reducing your carbon footprint is a long-term return on investment with huge profits for you and the environment. Check the size of your carbon footprint and then try these simple tips to reduce your carbon impact on the planet.
Simple tips for your home
* Upgrade to Energy Star appliances.
* Change light bulbs to CFLs.
* Take advantage of natural light or open window light when possible.
* Insulate and weatherize your home or office.
* Lower the thermostat in the winter – 68 degrees can be comfortable. Layer up!
* Open the windows for natural ventilation and air circulation when weather permits.
* Maintain your home and car.
* Use cold water to wash your clothes.
* Line-dry your laundry.
* Plant native grasses and plants in your landscape. They’re hardier and require less water.
Transportation alternatives – you’re in the driver’s seat
* Maintain your car with regular oil changes and tire rotations to maximize gas mileage.
* Hoof it! Consider foot power for short distance errands – walking or biking – good for your physical health too!
* Car pool or use public transportation.
* Combine errands into one trip.
* Think globally. Buy locally.
* Support farmers’ markets. Become a locavore.
* Use seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet to avoid long-distance transportation.
* Grow your own vegetables in a garden or containers.
* BYOB – bag, bottle – even your coffee mug!
* Start a rain garden.
* Conserve versus consume.
* Consider need versus greed before you purchase.
* Be creative. Think recycle, reuse, repurpose, recreate, resell . . . . Keep the cycle of recyling going on and on and on. . . . .