For a variety of reasons, reducing one’s carbon footprint is a positive thing. It can help you save money, it can be good for your health and, most of all, it can help slow the rise in the Earth’s temperature.
Whether you are interested in making small changes to lighten your use of fossil fuels, or you really want to do an about-face with your lifestyle, here are four simple ways in which you can reduce your carbon use and help prevent global warming:
1. Eat fresh and local
When we think about buying local, many people think about produce and farm markets in the warm months, but you can make an effort to buy produce, dairy, meat, and eggs locally year-round.
Though our neighborhood supermarkets are now full of organic produce from around the globe, you should consider the amount of fuel required to get those items to your town. Visiting farm markets and knowing your farmer are great first steps. Also, when you do visit the food store, read the product labels so that you can learn the origin of the food you buy. You might want to choose peaches from your region rather than ones shipped from across the country. Also, consider a community-supported agriculture program, or CSA, which creates a mutually beneficial relationship between farmers and the community.
In addition, keep in mind that most fruit and vegetables can be frozen, canned, or preserved for use throughout the year. Check out websites like Local Harvest for farms and CSA’s near you by placing your zip code in the search box.
2. Minimize the use of appliances
Nobody likes a buildup of dirty dishes and laundry, but getting in the habit of only running the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer when you have a full load can reduce energy usage and save you money on your utility bill. Need to heat up a small amount of something? Consider your toaster oven instead of preheating your larger oven and wasting energy.
3. Maintain your automobile
It would be a wonderful world if we could all stop using our cars and trucks, and bicycle everywhere (good for the environment and great for your health). But, for many of us, this is impractical on a daily basis.
As an alternative, you can be kind to the environment by maintaining the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.
First, keep your tires inflated properly. Check your car’s manual to find the suggested inflation level, and monitor it monthly. Keeping your tires adequately inflated can save gas and thereby keep excess carbon dioxide out of the air.
Changing the air filter more often is another easy win for eco-conscious drivers. If you only change the filter when you get your oil changed, you should consider changing it more often (think about how often you change your furnace filter). Changing your car’s air filter monthly can save you $130 annually and keep 100 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air.
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Sorting and making use of recycling bins and recycling days in your municipality is a great start, but why not take it a step further? Go paperless with your monthly bills and statements.
If for some reason you do need to use paper, look for paper that is 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. Be a smart consumer, and look for other paper products that are also post-consumer recycled.
It has become commonplace to bring reusable bags to the supermarket or the farmer’s market, but consider using these bags for other purposes. Many of the reusable shopping bags are very attractive with bright prints and designs. Why not use these as gift bags, so the recipient can then reuse the bag himself or herself?
We can all do at least a bit more to reduce our carbon footprint and prevent global warming. Take a look at your daily life, and see what you can do to help our planet, improve your health and save some money.
Know of other ways to prevent global warming? Leave us a note in the comments below.