you’ve probably heard of a carbon footprint before, but have you ever calculated your own? we all have a footprint, which is the total amount of greenhouse gases we’re each responsible for, that’s entirely dependent on how much we consume and what we consume.
now that we’re seeing the effects of climate change, more people are looking for ways to reduce their individual footprint. luckily, there isn’t just one way to do so! with that being said, we have three simple ways to cut your footprint in half, if not more.
be a conscious consumer
first and foremost, being a conscious consumer goes a long way and can mean many different things. conscious consumerism focuses on a few concepts: only buying what you need and less of what you want, thrifting when it’s possible, being mindful of single-use packaging, and, last but not least, supporting sustainable companies.
a rule of thumb for being a conscious consumer is to research the company before making a purchase from them. more often than not, a brand that’s working to reduce their business footprint will show full transparency on their website about what materials they use, how they package their items, and how they produce their products. if a company can’t offer you this information, it’s probably not a good sign!
shop local and small
shopping local and small goes for just about anything, from grocery shopping to clothing. for food, it’s always best to support local grocery stores or farmers’ markets since it doesn’t take nearly as much fossil fuel to transport items to nearby locations. better yet, aim to shop for foods that are in season!
shopping local and small can also be applied to shopping for clothes; and here’s how. instead of heading to a forever 21, a store you already know is a chain, check out a smaller business. you’re likely supporting another person in your community, which is always a better option than investing in a large corporation.
lastly, don’t be afraid of online shopping! despite the myth that has circled around, in-person shopping isn’t more eco-friendly than online shopping. it might seem like it would be since online orders have to be delivered somehow, but it actually takes more energy and resources to run a brick-and-mortar store. a 2013 study found that people who did all their shopping online actually had a footprint that’s 2x smaller than those who shopped in-person!
eat low on the food chain
don’t worry; we won’t be the ones to tell you that you need to go all-in on a particular diet! all we’ll say is that eating foods that are lower on the food chain, like fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, will help you reduce your carbon footprint just through making small adjustments to your diet.
the dairy and meat industry are responsible for 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions, mainly because of the energy and resources needed to feed the animals and process the food. if you want to cut out dairy and meat products altogether, by all means, go for it! however, it’s also worth noting that each day that you choose not to consume dairy and meat, you’ll reduce your footprint by 8 pounds!
these are just three ideas that anyone can try, without making any kind of drastic lifestyle change. taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint may seem like it’s going unnoticed, but in the long run and thinking of all the generations to come, it’ll be worth it.