If you want to live green, you should strive to reduce your carbon footprint. If you are wondering what the heck that means, here’s an explanation…
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas that greatly contributes to global warming. Your carbon footprint is an estimate of the CO2 produced to support the way you live, so low-impact green living = reduce carbon footprint. The EarthLab website can help you estimate you get an idea of where you stand- you’ll find out how your commuting, home, energy, work, travel, and lifestyle habits are affecting the environment.
Once you understand the things you are doing that might not be so eco-friendly, you can start to change them/reduce carbon footprint.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Driving Green
Check out Greener Cars, a wonderful resource that provides scores for the eco-friendliness of each car on the market. According to David Bach, author of Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying, getting rid of your car, or at least swapping a car with poor fuel economy for a more efficient one, has a hugely positive impact on the planet as well as your wallet. If you can get let go of your car, this is obviously the best option. If you drive a lot and that’s not possible, though, do your research and decide whether you and the environment would be better off with a hybrid.
If getting a new (or how about used?) more fuel efficient car is simply not in the cards, make a commitment to simply driving less (reduce car trips = reduce carbon footprint).
Can you use public transportation instead? Can you walk, bike, and carpool more often? At the very least, make sure to take a look at these green driving and maintenance tips.
Next, examine what’s going on in other areas of your life. Be honest with yourself- are you a model of low impact living or are you an environmental disaster? If you admit to being the latter, it’s never too late to start changing your habits.
Here are some more green habits worth adopting:
- Bring Your Own Bags When You Shop
- Drink Water Out Of An Eco-Friendly Reusable Bottle
If everyone did just this one thing, it would make a huge difference. Almost 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. These bags never break down- they pollute our environment and harm our wildlife, so why use them???
It does take some getting used to always bringing your own bags. A few years ago, I purchased a whole bunch of reusable canvas shopping bags. I was so excited about this decision, yet for a few months after I had them, I would still sometimes find myself at the end of the check-out line without my bags. I’d left them at home. Not anymore, though. I now have a pretty sizable collection of reusable bags and I always keep them in my car. When I leave my car to go into any store, I always remember my bags because now it’s a habit. I never take plastic or paper bags. Period. If I do for some reason find myself without my bags, I carry my items by hand, stuff them into my purse, or just wheel them to my car “unbagged” in the shopping cart.
This is much better for the environment than buying plastic water bottles. We used to buy cases of water and of course I would recycle the bottles, but then I learned that not only is bottled water rarely better for you than tap water, the plastic bottles may leach toxic chemicals into your water. I decided we could definitely do without them (not to mention all the energy that is used in making and recycling those plastic bottles). It makes much more sense to drink the free water from your tap (a good filter will remove any “bad stuff”) and to fill up water bottles with tap water for when you are “on the road”. (learn more about problems with bottled water at All About Water). My favorite bottles are made by Sigg: they have tons of cool designs and every member of your family will want their own. The same goes for disposable coffee/tea cups. Make it one of your healthy green habits to bring your own mug, and just think of all the cups you’ll keep out of the garbage.
Once you get started with these habits that reduce your carbon footprint, you will want to go further, I promise. These are habits that benefit your health, the planet, and quite often your wallet, so you really can’t go wrong.