Contrary to common belief, it’s not expensive or that difficult to reduce your carbon footprint. New technology is always being made but that doesn’t mean a single piece of technology will miraculously appear and save us. It can make homes more efficient and cars more environmentally friendly but that’s not enough.
We need to reduce our demand altogether.
The problem lies in our society and how we live. Our lifestyles have become very unsustainable so it doesn’t matter if we invent the smartest piece of technology. If we don’t change our habits, it will not make much of a difference.
What is a low carbon life?
Low carbon living is when you as an individual, are adding only a small amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Aka you have a low carbon footprint. These emissions can come from transportation like driving but most times, it is hidden. For example, you increase your carbon footprint every time you buy something new because energy was used to manufacture it. What you eat also hugely affects your carbon footprint.
Every day you have an impact on the environment. Some have a bigger impact than others. But it’s possible to reduce it with the help of these tips.
*It’s important to remember that even though it’s called a carbon footprint, it’s not just carbon dioxide that is measured. All greenhouse gases are included, including methane.
How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
If everyone implements these into their lives (and more), the world would quickly improve. While we do need to hold companies accountable for the harm they are causing, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t focus on our actions and their impact. Even if it is small, it still makes a difference.
Not to mention, the world could save a lot of money by reducing its carbon footprint. So here are some things you can implement in your life. But remember that this is just the start!
20 Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
I’ll break it down into 4 main categories: Transport, diet, home, and lifestyle. If you can make small changes in these areas of your life then you will be able to greatly reduce your environmental impact.
01. Drive less
Land transport contributes to climate change more than any other mode of transport. This is why people need to drive less. Especially if it is short distances, find an alternative such as the ones mentioned below.
02. Public transport/ bike/ walk
Biking, walking, and public transport. These are the best alternatives to driving. If you’re going somewhere close, choose to bike or walk there. If it’s a long journey, and you have the choice, take the train or bus. These options are often cheaper too and less stressful. Use your car as the last resort if none of these options are possible.
Another option to reduce your carbon footprint is to carpool. Get someone to drive everyone to work, school, or an event instead of driving there separately. It’s more fun this way too.
04. Invest in a better car
You could even consider getting a more efficient car. One that produces fewer greenhouse gases. Getting a car that is designed to have a low environmental impact would be ideal. Getting an electric car is another great option. Especially it is powered by clean energy.
05. Fly less
Flying is another big issue. The aviation industry continues to grow and is becoming more accessible to everyone due to the low prices. If you are traveling to a nearby country, explore other ways in which you could travel there. There are alternatives to planes. It might take longer to travel by bus or train, but it could also lead to an amazing adventure. This type of travel is referred to as slow travel and frankly, I think the world would benefit if more people tried traveling like this.
06. Stop speeding
Speeding and suddenly accelerating will only waste fuel, money and increase carbon emissions so drive sensibly. Again, it might seem insignificant but these little habits add up.
07. Switch to a plant-based diet
Reducing your meat intake is probably the easiest way to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your impact on the environment as a whole. Switching to a plant-based diet also has health benefits for you. Not everyone has to go completely vegan or vegetarian, but reducing your meat intake will go a long way.
08. Don’t waste food
There are three main ways to reduce your food waste. The most obvious one is to buy less food. Many choose to buy a lot of food all at once but when the time comes to eat it, it has expired. Don’t do this. Only buy what you need. Secondly, eat the leftovers. Often food tastes better the day after believe it or not. Don’t let perfectly good food go to waste for no good reason. This is also another way to save money while helping the environment.
This is the third way to reduce food waste. Learn how to compost. There are plenty of articles and videos online to learn how to do this. While it is easier to do if you have a garden, it’s possible to do it even if you live in an apartment. I would definitely recommend learning this valuable skill.
10. Buy local
Always look at the label before buying your food. You will notice that most of it originates from far-away countries. These will therefore increase your carbon footprint. The best place to buy fruit and veg is your local farmer’s market. These also tend to taste better too. Choose seasonal and local products as much as you can. This is a good habit to get into.
The way you live your life can also have an effect on the planet. Think about how many clothes and other products you buy every month. Are they really necessary? It might not seem obvious but in most cases, they have a huge carbon footprint. These items need to be manufactured, stored, and transported across the world. Is buying a new shirt or phone worth all that?
Minimalism is a great way to make your life better while helping the planet. It is a way to be happier with less stuff. It goes against the usual consumerist lifestyle of our modern society and focuses on only having what adds value to our lives.
12. Reduce your waste
Society produces way too much waste. Most of it comes in the form of packaging. The plastic that is used to store products needs energy and resources to be made. Additionally, its lifecycle does not end when you put it in the bin. It needs to be transported to landfills or recycling centers. Reducing our waste needs to become a priority as plastic has now literally reached every part of the planet.
Becoming zero-waste is becoming more a popular lifestyle and perhaps you could consider it. Even becoming imperfectly zero-waste will massively reduce your carbon footprint.
Related: 40 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Waste
13. Get a reusable bag
This is a very easy (and free) way of helping the planet. Stop accepting plastic bags at the checkout and bring your own instead.
14. Slow fashion
Adopt the slow fashion mindset. Stop buying loads of clothes every year most of which you only wear a few times. Invest in a few good items that you really love and make them last as long as possible.
15. Grow your own food
I think this is an important skill that many people lack. Growing your own food is very fulfilling and fun! It can help you reduce your carbon footprint too because you won’t have to buy as much food as you can simply pick them from your very own garden
16. Reduce printing
While there are many things you can do to make printing more sustainable, the best thing to do if possible is to keep it on the screen. Stop wasting paper if you can avoid it.
17. Ditch the tumble dryer
Start drying your clothes naturally either inside or outside. It will reduce your energy consumption by a lot. There’s really no point in having a tumble dryer.
18. Unplug unused devices
When you leave your devices plugged in even when they are not in use, energy is wasted. This is also called standby power and it includes TVs, phones, speakers, games consoles, etc. It might seem like a hassle at first to you, having to unplug everything after you’ve used it, but it’s all about getting into a habit. And most importantly, you will be saving energy and money.
19. Insulate your home
An energy-efficient home lets minimal energy escape. It’s important to make your house as efficient as possible in order to use less electricity and heating and therefore fewer fossil fuels. There are various ways to make your home more energy-efficient.
20. Install LED lights
This is a good way to reduce energy consumption in your house. LED lights have a lower environmental impact than conventional ones so slowly, slowly start switching all your bulbs in your home.
21. Unplug devices
This might not sound like much, but it will make a difference in the long-term. Especially at night, remember to unplug your TV, phone, laptop, etc. Switching off your devices is not good enough. You need to remember to unplug them from your socket.
22. Solar panels
In addition to these simple steps, you could take it one step further and install solar panels on your roof. It’s an investment worth the money. It will require a bit of money at the beginning to install them but after that but you’ll save a lot of money in the future.
Why should you switch to a low carbon lifestyle?
So think about how you live. These tiny sacrifices will help you reach a low carbon life much faster.
The main reason you should consider it is because you will be helping the planet. You will reduce the negative impact you are having on it. People never think about the big picture. They always say: ‘My actions won’t make a difference’. But if you change the way you live, you might inspire someone else to do the same thing.
Don’t be selfish. Think about the planet and future generations. They won’t have a planet to live on if we continue like this.
The reason all these things seem so hard to stop is not that they are physically hard to do. Carrying around a reusable bag or eating a plant-based diet is not a hard task. It’s made difficult by people’s opinions and because they have become part of our culture.
Nevertheless, we must challenge the world we live in in order to make it a better place. First, we need to change how we think and change our society, and then it will become a whole lot easier to protect the planet.