Some of the Most Effective Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:
Updated: Feb 11
This is modeled off of a UN report linked here. In summary, there are five sectors of greenhouse gas emissions, and sector by sector we will discuss solutions to emissions.
1- THE ENERGY SECTOR: almost 75% GHG emissions
Where do you get your energy from? Your electricity?
What people often fail to realize is that electric cars don't save the world when the electricity used in the battery is generated from fossil fuels. So what can we do about our energy emissions?
There are many ways to deal with heating issues.
The first is to turn off your heating all together if possible and wear layers instead. However, I don't think that this is a practical solution as winter gets cold.
The second thing you can do is reduce your heating by a couple of degrees as it makes a huge difference in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Or, you could switch your gas boiler for a heat pump which uses about one quarter of the energy of a gas boiler.
Try switching energy providers to one which is mostly renewable.
UK- try Octopus Energy or Good Energy Group
USA- try Green Mountain Energy or Octopus Energy
Europe- try Octopus Energy if in Germany, Spain, Italy, France
Japan- Octopus Energy
New Zealand- Octopus Energy
Australia- try Enova Energy
Or, go solar if it is practical in your area. Please do research on your area specifically as you may be eligible for discounts or free installation.
Lastly, try to clean your boiler or heat source as this will make it more efficient, costing you and the planet less.
First, do you need it running all the time? Or can you get by safely without it, especially during the night?
You should be able to reduce the power of your AC unit, which I recommend that you try if it is safe to do so.
Please make sure that your AC unit is new because old AC units are less efficient and some still contain hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) which are also found in refrigerators. These HFC molecules are released via leaks in refrigeration and AC units.
Again, energy provider and cleaning your cooling system are important so make sure to check both.
3- Appliances and Tech
Oh yes, our beloved technology. Here are some tips to reduce the carbon footprint of your appliances and technology. And yes, I am too lazy to explain each point so feel free to research.
1- Reduce screen time to conserve electricity
2- Switch off the lights during the day
3- Unplug all sockets when not in use because electricity is still flowing even when the plug is turned off.
4- ditch your TV, watch on a more efficient device instead
5- when buying a new device, be conscious of how efficient it is.
6- Buy your tech secondhand where possible
2- THE TRANSPORTATION SECTOR
A little disclaimer that public transport may not be the best solution to everyone as it can be costly and unsafe in some areas. Please stay safe.
1- Trains, Busses, Trams
2- Bikes/walking (no carbon and less expensive)
3- EVs. But check your energy source and how efficient they are. Also, not possible for everyone
4- carpool. This is a great, easy fix
5- don't go places if you don't need to
6- Join the #ontheground movement (again, not possible for everyone)
3- THE INDUSTRY SECTOR
First, check out our Conscious Buying Guide.
1- Don't buy stuff you don't need or really want.
Not that simple, which is why I linked the guide above :)
2- Buy from ethical and sustainable brands
A great resource for clothing is Good On You.
3- Buy second hand or dead-stock
4- Try making your own clothes if you can and have time.
5- Try a school/work/neighborhood clothing swap.
It's a great way to get fashionable pieces.
6- Try Facebook Marketplace for furniture
4- AGRICULTURE AND LAND USE
Did you know that the Amazon Rainforest is now a net emitter rather than a net absorber of CO2? This is because most of it has been cleared for agriculture and land use.
Please don't drive yourself crazy over your food choices. Humans need to eat to survive and plant- based diets don't produce a lot of carbon. But here are some gentle suggestions:
1- reduce meat, fish and dairy consumption
Also, check out Seaspiracy and Cowspiracy. (Seaspiracy is better).
2- try to buy from local brands
3- try to buy in bulk or from zero- waste markets
Check out https://app.zerowastehome.com/
It is an online zero waste finder and is how I found my local zero waste market.
Honestly, I am not too knowledgable about Construction, however, I can offer a couple of tips.
1- Don't build additions/extensions if you don't really need or want to
2- Try to use green resources
3- opt for low VOC paint brands. (research your area)
4- buy secondhand where possible
5- Use the 5 Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle
Thank you for making it to the end! You have made it!