I would like to thank our guest writer for this post, Philip J Reed, on behalf of Westwood College.
Terms like “eco-friendliness,” “climate change” and “carbon footprint” are tossed around an awful lot lately. It’s difficult to escape them, in fact. This can be a good thing, as it means that society, in general, is becoming more and more receptive to (and conscious of) the very real environmental impacts of their actions.
It can also, however, feel quite overwhelming. Protecting the planet is great and all, but what can we, as individuals, actually do?
Well, we’ve taken the time to prepare this very brief list of five things everybody can do, individually, to reduce their carbon footprints. And, we think you’ll find, each of these steps benefits your life (and the world) in additional ways as well!
- Buy local fruits, vegetables, meats, and any other locally grown or produced products that you can. Does this seem completely unrelated? It’s not! The amount of vehicular emissions released when transporting products is increased with the total distance transported. Buying local means exponentially smaller emissions, and, as an added bonus, you’re supporting your local economy!
- Switch out your old fuel driven lawnmower for an electric one. Or, even better, a manual pushmower, which not only eliminates all emissions, but will also increase the amount of exercise you get from mowing the lawn. Additionally, you may want to consider not bagging up your lawn clippings. Leaving them scattered can actually benefit your lawn, as they serve as a natural fertilizer!
- Plant a tree! Not only are trees beautiful (and long-lasting) testaments to the lives of those who planted them, they are also natural air- and soil-filtration systems. Trees do an excellent job of cleansing environmental harm that’s already been done, and you can also use the planting of a tree as an excuse to get the family together, outdoors, working on a rewarding project. It’s a bonding experience as much as it is an environmental one.
- Walk or cycle whenever it is possible. When that is not an option, consider either public transportation or a car pool. Many suburbs have commuting or car pooling groups set up for those who travel for work. If one car can take four people to work rather than the four traveling separately, then you have effectively erased the vehicular emissions of three people. Over the course of even a single year, that adds up to an enormous reduction! (And the conversation is better this way, too!)
- Understand the energy that you use every day! Taking small steps in many areas can reduce the amount of energy your household consumes greatly. Have you switched over to rechargeable batteries and eco-friendly light bulbs? If not, you’re missing out on a lifetime’s worth of cost savings, as they need to be replaced hundreds of times less frequently! Also, you may want to consider having solar panels installed. You don’t need to power your entire house with them (though you certainly could), but each solar panel will reduce your reliance on grid-delivered electricity, and will reduce your electricity bill accordingly.
There should be many local services who can offer you a consultation regardingthis step, and often that consultation will be free. Anyone with a construction management degree should be able to help guide you, so ask around the family and friends!
Remember, take things one step at a time and one small change at a time. The planet appreciates it every time you reduce your carbon footprint, no matter how small the reduction may be. And we think you’ll find that it’s easier than you expected, and that further reductions will get even easier down the line.
If you have any additional steps you’ve taken to reduce your carbon footprint, please leave them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear about what people are doing!