How to reduce your individual carbon footprint

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Find your individual greenhouse gas emissions and how you can reduce your carbon footprint to do your part to conserve the planet.

Among the major contributing factors of environmental degradation and climate change are greenhouse gas emissions. Factory farming, increased automobiles, and factory pollution all contribute to the rise of greenhouse gas emissions, and these factors seem way out of our control.

Getting mental exhaustion from feeling helpless about being unable to control and decrease these environmental pollutants is a fairly common thing. You might have given up and just accepted that there isn’t much in your hands and our earth is headed towards a definite catastrophe.

But, what if we were to tell you there are ways that you could actively engage in decreasing the greenhouse gas emission rates? Individually, you can contribute a significant amount of carbon footprint.

According to The Nature Conservancy, the average carbon footprint for a resident of the US is approximately 16 tons, and this statistic only represents one country. Furthermore, the global individual carbon footprint average is 4 tons.

So, how are you as an individual generating such massive amounts of carbon footprint? To find the answer to this question, let’s first address what carbon footprint exactly is.

Simply put, a carbon footprint refers to the emitted greenhouse gasses directly or indirectly from our lifestyle and actions. The greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, ozone, and nitrous oxide. These harmful toxins are released from everything including agriculture, fossil fuel, electronics, and deforestation. 

Greenhouse gasses deteriorate our planetary health by trapping heat and, in turn, increasing the planet’s temperature. As a consequence, we experience extreme weather, natural disasters, smog, and a hindrance to our food manufacturing process.

What is an individual carbon footprint?

ways to reduce carbon footprint individualAs individuals, we are a direct part of the capitalistic world and contribute to the growth of several industries. Although our collective growth in technology and the product market is admirable, is it beneficial for our planet? By participating in our capitalistic market, we produce our individual carbon footprint.

How so, you ask? Well, today, there are hundreds of millions — if not billions — of cars in our world, and several individuals own over one car. Even if one doesn’t regularly drive all cars, just by purchasing multiple cars, they have contributed to greenhouse gas emissions during their manufacturing process.

Furthermore, your clothes shopping patterns also determine your carbon footprint. Fast fashion has spread like wildfire and the culture of consumerism fuels that fire. Clothes are made cheaper and less durable to increase sales.

Additionally, the need to constantly stay up to date with the current clothing trends on social media also lead people to buy more and more clothes. A 2021 report by the World Economic Forum states that the fashion industry is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions and releases 5% of the global greenhouse gases.

In addition to the cars you drive, how much you drive and how you shop, what you eat also has an impact on your individual carbon footprint. The factory farming industry is larger than ever and produces more meat than we can actually consume. The industry has created a culture of excess and transformed factory meat into a mega-industry.

Today, most big supermarkets sell factory farming meats and CIWF reports that factory farming is an energy-hungry industry that produces 37% to 65% of the world’s methane and nitrous oxide.

How can you reduce your individual carbon footprint?

how to reduce carbon footprintAfter reading more about the different sources of greenhouse gases, one thing is clear: the sources are prevalent and often unavoidable. So, how can you reduce your individual carbon footprint?

You can begin by calculating your carbon footprint and finding the key contributors. Once you identify the factors, start by making small lifestyle changes. For example, if you live close to your workplace, bike there instead of driving. You can also start taking public transportation more.

Furthermore, be on the lookout for your eating habits — if you consume meat, you can start by reducing the number of times you eat meat per week. Look at more vegan recipes, you are bound to find ones that you love. Additionally, be aware of your clothes and gadgets spending habits.

Buy merchandise that is long-lasting, don’t overcrowd your closet and don’t chase trends. Besides, it’s way more fun to create your own style than to wear what the trend dictates. Reducing your individual carbon footprint is easier than ever — it just requires you to be aware of your lifestyle and make active, environmentally friendly decisions. It can be as simple as turning off the lights when you aren’t using them.