It is getting harder for even the hardest critics to ignore the impacts of global warming and the effects that carbon footprints have on this. Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result your activities. Every day we see more evidence of rising sea levels, coastal erosion, as well as increasing rain and snowfall.
While large corporations and industries are big polluters with large amounts of carbon emissions, we can’t count out the little guys. Everyday consumers can have a big impact and should shoulder some responsibility, too.
So, what can you do to help?
It might seem like your actions are inconsequential against a global problem. But let’s not forget that the expansive ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. We can all play our part to affect change. Let’s take a look at what global warming is, and what you can do in your day-to-day life to reduce your own carbon footprint.
What is Global Warming?
Global warming describes the increase in the global average surface temperature. Since the early 1900s, this average has increased by 0.9 degrees celsius. In the sensitive Polar Regions, the temperatures are rising faster and are having detrimental effects. The Arctic sea ice cover has declined by 30% over the last three decades.
Global warming causes the melting of sea ice, rising sea levels, increased coastal erosion, destruction of wildlife habitats, and increased rain and flooding.
Ways to reduce your carbon footprint
There are lots of steps you can take to reduce your carbon emissions as an everyday consumer, without significant interference to your day-to-day life. You can:
Eat less meat: consuming less meat is the most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Agriculture related emissions cause more damage to the environment than fossil fuels. Being vegan or vegetarian isn’t going to work for everyone, but even doing vegetable based meals once or twice a week can make a big difference.
Red meat produces 5 times more emissions than poultry meats, so simply cutting out red meat in favour of white a few days a week is also a good option.
Fly and drive less: emissions from planes and vehicles are something else we can actively reduce by simply using them less. Using public buses, trains, rideshares, cycling or walking should be your first choice whenever possible. Some airlines also offer carbon-offset schemes where you can counteract flight emissions by paying an extra small fee.
Buy less stuff: major budget retailers fill their shelves with low cost, mass produced goods. The production of these goods creates tonnes of textile and other waste, uses chemicals and processes that are harmful to the environment, and often offers poor pay and working condition to the workers. Often these are also low quality or single use, meaning after a short time you throw them away. Sometimes it isn’t possible to fix them.
By buying less of it, fewer items end up in landfills. It also reduces the need, so less of these items are produced long term. By choosing fewer, quality items you can sue them for longer and divert waste from landfills.
Buy smart stuff: when you do need to purchase something, make an educated choice. Support local, sustainable and fair-trade businesses when you can. Also, consider shopping second-hand whenever possible. Pre-loved clothing, homewares, and appliances still have a lot of life in them, and it often means supporting charity stores which is great too!
Grow a garden: growing your own fruit, herbs and vegetables is a great hobby that has benefits for both yourself and the planet. It provides you with healthy, fresh vegetables, while reducing demand for out of season or non-local produce. You can also control the pesticides that your fruit and vegetables are exposed to.
You might live in a small house or apartment without a lot of garden space. In that case, small balcony-sized veggie or herb gardens will work. Growing flowers is also great for the bees!
Building sustainably: if you are considering renovations or building a new home, choose to build sustainably. You can
do this by choosing sustainable building materials, energy efficient appliances and materials, using eco-lighting, installing double glazed windows, embracing solar energy, and positioning your home for maximum natural light and sun.
Read more about building sustainably in our recent blog.
If you have any questions about development, get in contact with our friendly team.
As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.