Many of us strive to reduce our carbon footprint year-round by moderating our water usage, energy usage, recycling, and more. However, with Earth Day just around the corner, you might be inclined to boost your current routine or perform a completely new Earth-friendly act in tribute of the day. Or you may be completely new to the idea of green living. Whatever the case may be, Earth Day is a wonderful time to start thinking about what you can do to make a difference today, throughout 2018, and beyond.
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What You Should Know About Your Carbon Footprint
Understanding and calculating your carbon footprint is actually quite a complicated process. Everything that you do, use, and consume has an impact on your personal carbon footprint. Think about every time you drive, how you heat your house, and what you have for dinner and how you cook it — all of these actions make an impact on the Earth in some way.
The term “carbon footprint” has to do with what are called greenhouse gases and their expulsion into the atmosphere. These gases include methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and more. When we participate in acts like driving, eating meat, and burning fuels to heat our homes, we’re adding more of these gases into the atmosphere. As a result, these compounds have a strong effect on the heating and cooling of our planet that takes place in the atmosphere. Although in many cases it’s impossible to completely stop these activities, it is feasible to cut back on excess energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
What You Can Do This Earth Day
Check Out Your Diet
First and foremost, meat is one of the biggest ways you can drastically cut down your carbon footprint. The production of meat products uses massive amounts of water and feed, and the animal itself produces methane that affects the environment. Fertilizers that contain nitrogen are used to grow feed for the animals, and this releases a huge amount of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. The water necessary to maintain cattle is incredible: It takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce just one pound of meat. Only 25 gallons of water is required to grow a pound of many fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Support Sustainable Companies
Simply taking a look at how you spend your money can also make a large impact on the environment. I highly suggest that you research companies that you support to find out what kind of efforts they are making towards a greener planet. Wasteful companies that don’t actively recycle, use safe ingredients for the Earth, or simply employ production tactics that expel more greenhouse gases than they are able to counteract are businesses that you should think twice about supporting.
In addition, many companies like to give the appearance of a natural or green product when in actuality, their product has a negative impact on the Earth — this is called greenwashing. Doing your research on a company — about the way they give back to the planet and their transparency around processes — can truly help you make informed decisions about sustainable businesses.
Think About How You Travel
Most of us rely on cars and planes to get wherever we need to go. It is simply a necessary mode of transportation that many of us don’t have any alternative to, which is completely understandable. However, there are instances for all of us where we could travel in a different way, but we don’t simply out of convenience. This Earth Day, if you can use your scooter, bicycle, or even just walk to get where you need to, I implore you do to so. If each of us chooses to travel differently, even for just one day a year (hopefully you can try for more), we can cut back immensely on our carbon footprints.
The most effective way to incite change in yourself and others is to get involved in discussions about the planet. Openly talking about things like global warming invites others to come up with new ideas about how we can collectively lower our carbon footprint. If you’d like to do what you can to make a difference to the planet this Earth Day, get involved in your community and see what other people around you are doing to start a trend of change.