A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide or methane, emitted due to our production and consumption of products and services. We know this term isn’t new, but it’s still a major issue. The average American’s carbon footprint is 16 tons, which is one of the highest in the world (the global average is four tons).
One of the main effects of high carbon footprints is a rise in global temperatures. If you’ve seen the wildfires happening in California or Europe, higher global temperatures is one of the causes. But don’t worry, there are many ways we can help stop this phenomenon.
Transportation is one of the most well-known ways to reduce your carbon footprint. If you can walk somewhere, walk! This way you are not using the gas in your car which pollutes the environment, and you get a workout in. It’s a win-win! Obviously it can be hard to walk everywhere, so using public transport is another great way to minimize cars on the road and your footprint.
Another common strategy for reducing your carbon footprint is reserving energy and limiting waste. When you’re not using it, turn off your heating. Even just turning it to a lower temperature makes a huge difference. Turning off water when brushing your teeth or cleaning dishes is another great method. If you’re not already doing this, notice how much water you may let go to waste while you are standing there. And, of course, make sure you recycle! Approximately 40% of the trash in Seattle is actually recyclable, so do your best to reduce this number.
Clothing is another important contributor to a carbon footprint. Buying second-hand or well-made clothing (i.e. not fast fashion!) is better for the environment. Also, when you go shopping, bring a reusable bag to avoid excessive plastic (queue Katy Perry’s “Firework”).
These are just a few tips for minimizing your carbon footprint, but there are so many more you can partake in. Baby steps are still making progress, so if you are given the sustainable choice, take it!