Becoming more responsible as a consumer includes paying a lot of attention to the carbon footprint you leave behind. The more we can do as individuals, the greater the collective impact. That’s why we don’t have to focus on how to clean up an entire city or country. We just have to focus on ourselves and try to get others to do so as well.
Narrowing the scope that much certainly makes it less overwhelming to think of how to help the environment, and once you grasp how manageable it is, you can get started right in your own backyard.
Of course, a lot of the steps you can take are obvious. We all know about smart thermostats, carpooling, and LED light bulbs. But there are so many other things you can do to help reduce your energy consumption and pollution production.
“Becoming more responsible as a consumer
includes paying a lot of attention to the
carbon footprint you leave behind.
The more we can do as individuals, the greater
the collective impact.”
Find New Energy
The only thing better than using less electricity is making electricity. When you tie into the power grid, you’re getting your kilowatts from whatever fuel source is cheapest. It could be something sustainable, but there’s a good chance it’s still a fossil fuel. That’s why it’s so good to reduce electricity usage.
But you can go even further than that. Improving solar technology is making it more affordable than ever to generate power right at home, drastically cutting your power bill and lowering your demand from a fossil fuel power plant. The best solar panels will efficiently convert the sun’s energy into energy for your home.
An added bonus is that it permits you to use electricity for more things, like your car, without a corresponding increase in fossil fuels. Spend a little time learning about solar power and whether it could be an option for you.
One of the biggest enemies of the environment is transportation, and despite a lot of good work being done, we still send diesel trucks and trains all over the country to transport goods. While it’s certainly true that there will always be a few things that must be hauled from great distances, it’s also true that we could be buying a lot of things closer to home and reducing the miles of driving required to get things to your closet or refrigerator.
Food is a perfect example. We can buy a lot more products locally just by connecting with farmers’ markets or cooperatives in our area. Doesn’t it make more sense to get those tomatoes and cabbage from a farmer ten or even fifty miles away instead of one 500 miles away? Local produce is fresher and benefits your local economy, too.
“Think about cutting some of the travel
out of your travels.
Not only will you save fuel, you’ll also reduce
the time you spend on the road.”
Take a Stay-cation Or a Near-cation
Another big part of our collective carbon footprint is recreational travel. For landlocked people, there is often a call to the beach that’s hard to resist, and it results in hundreds of miles on the road for each family trip.
While you can’t put a beach in Kansas, you can certainly consider options that will be closer to home for at least some of your travel. There’s a tendency for us to think that we aren’t really on vacation until we leave our home state, but if you bypass that paradigm, you’ll find plenty of things just down the road that you’ve never seen before.
Even if you just drive 50 or 100 miles, you may see a whole new side of your region of the country, so think about cutting some of the travel out of your travels. Not only will you save fuel, you’ll also reduce the time you spend on the road, giving you more days at the destination and fewer miserable hours buckled in the car fighting city after city of gridlock.
“If we start now and move in a positive
direction every day, we can eventually reverse
some of the damage that’s been done and
create a sustainable, green future.”
We haven’t reached our current environmental condition overnight, and we won’t reverse its worst problems overnight. But if we start now and move in a positive direction every day, we can eventually reverse some of the damage that’s been done and create a sustainable, green future.
What are your favorite ways to reduce your carbon footprint?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
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