When you drive a vehicle, buy a shoe, or cook dinner, you contribute to releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It’s your carbon footprint.
Oxfam estimates that if each person in the UK reduced their CO2 emissions by 10%, it would be enough to save all of the year’s seasonal rainforest deforestation.
As an individual, you can also help reduce your own impacts on climate change in several ways. Discover what you can do about it here.
What actually is a carbon footprint?
Emissions of greenhouse gases are given off during the production and consumption of goods and services. Carbon footprint quantifies the impacts of an activity, a person, or a country on climate change. The amount of carbon emitted in your t-shirt, meal, or phone depends on your choices regarding production and consumption. For example, eating meat or fish has a bigger carbon footprint than fruits and vegetables; taking a plane for travel emits “x” number of carbon per kilometer versus driving a car.
There are approximately seven billion people in the world. We all require various resources to live. The United Nations predicts that this number will grow to 9.7 billion people by 2050 and more than 11 billion by 2100. With increasing populations come increased emissions and depletion of our planet’s resources.
1. Recycling is cool
Take the first step towards helping to protect the environment by beginning to recycle at home. Find out if you are eligible to have recycling picked up in your neighborhood or find out where the nearest drop-off facility is located if you don’t want to wait for your waste collection service provider to begin a curbside recycling collection program.
2. Plastic is not fantastic
The United Nations estimates that by 2050, more plastic will be in the ocean than fish. The way things stand now is unsustainable. Educate yourself about cutting back on and better managing your dependence on this material. When possible, shop at stores that promote less reliance on plastic and purchase reusable items, like metal straws and paper bags. Pick up litter you see along the way during your daily routines and keep beaches/parks clean of any things you find during beach clean-ups!
3. Water is life
When faced with a water shortage, what can we do? Most people take measures to save water, including everything from differentiating the colors and temperature of clothing to taking short showers daily so that you do not use up your resources carelessly.
4. Electric feeling
Make an effort to minimize your electricity usage. Switch off lights when not using some rooms. Turn off devices and unplug your cellphone charger when not in use. Use load shedding as an opportunity by turning it into a romantic candle-lit dinner and plug in a gas heater, or at least consider purchasing one over an electric bar heater. Try to fill your kettle with just the right amount of water when making tea or coffee, and boil it only if you need several cups at once.
5. Green power
Stop using toxic cleaning products like bleach, ammonia, and chlorine. Start caring for the environment by increasing your eco-friendly cleaning product alternatives. Plenty of local brands now produce environmentally friendly cleaners that don’t harm the water and rivers. We highly recommend you use Aspen Clean, as they have products of sterling quality. Local stores also have an extensive selection that you can choose from to have alternatives to traditional, unsafe cleaning solutions.
6. These boots are made for walking
Transport is a fundamental problem, especially during busy hours when public buses are overcrowded. The best way to get around and commute quickly is by using your own bike, an electric scooter, or just hoofing it. This method has a zero-emission rate and helps you thousands of dollars over the course of the year. It’s good for the environment too! Try to walk or bike to work, where most modern cities have designated bike paths marked out. If not, try asking your employer if there are any membership plans such as Bicycle Benefits that can help you purchase a new bike or a refurbished scooter (see refurbished electric scooters).