15 ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Do you actually know what the greenhouse effect is?

The not so good one, that is? It is The exchange of incoming and outgoing radiation that warms the Earth is often referred to as the greenhouse effect because a greenhouse works in much the same way.

The greenhouse effect, combined with increasing levels of greenhouse gases and the resulting global warming, is expected to have profound implications, according to the near-universal consensus of scientists.

If global warming continues unchecked, it will cause significant climate change, a rise in sea levels, increasing ocean acidification, extreme weather events and other severe natural and societal impacts, according to NASA, the EPA and other scientific and governmental bodies. 

What do we do?

1. Drive smart and less.

Clearly, car related emissions are the major cause of global warming so driving less means fewer carbon dioxide emissions. But it’s also crucial to ensure vehicles run efficiently ie keeping the tires properly inflated reduces gas mileage for over 3% instantly reducing the amount of greenhouse gases. Manufacturing these cars, production of fuel together with making the roads is a major source of the gases which are harmful to the environment.

2. If you can afford it, swap to a hybrid cars.

The Hybrid technology works in such a way that it allows the car to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Hybrid cars use more of electricity than gasoline thus reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, when it comes to usage people should not consume meat daily as it leads to higher carbon footprint. The whole process of getting meat down from the pasture to the table for consumption uses a lot of fuel and energy.

Energy is used in raising the animals, processing the meat and most of all keeping it from spoiling. If we learn how to eat a balanced diet or take meat in reduced amounts, we can reduce our carbon footprint. Besides, growing veggies requires very less energy as compared to that of meat. Changing our lifestyles is just the right step towards reducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

3. Turn the heating down.

Keep the temperatures at moderate rates all the time. Additionally, when you are away during the day or sleeping at night, you  can turn down the heat. A programmable thermostat can be installed because having to set it 2 degrees lower during winter and even higher in summer could save around 2,000 pounds of the gas carbon dioxide annually.

Wall and window insulation helps lower the amount of heating which costs more than 25% the amount of energy which is needed to heat and even cool the home.

4. Reduce, recycle and reuse.

When you recycle close to half of your household waste, you can save around 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Instead of throwing excess waste to the atmosphere increasing the amount of carbon dioxide, buy products with minimal packaging. Reducing waste also involves purchasing reusable products rather than disposable ones – getting a reusable water bottle is a prime example.

5. Buy energy-efficient products.

When buying home appliances it is important to look at the energy-efficiency models as they use far less energy.

6. Plant a tree.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and in turn give off oxygen. One tree absorbs around one ton of carbon dioxide in the whole of its lifetime so now is the time to be planting trees.

7. Use less hot water.

Wash your clothes in cold or warm water to and save a minimum of 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. By setting the water heater at 120 degrees Celsius, it can save energy. Low-Flow shower-heads can also be bought now to save on water and probably 350 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

8. Avoid products with excessive packaging.

Excessive packaging means excess waste to the environment especially in the compost sites and landfills where they pollute the environment. Less packaging is therefore better as it reduces wastage and high greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere during product production.

9. Buy green electricity.

There is need to adopt the renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hot rocks and wave power. There is a possibility that coal, natural gas and oil will be depleted from the earth’s surface so adopting safe and renewable sources of energy is imperative. To reduce the emission of greenhouse we all need to look at replacing our energy systems with electricity generated from green energy sources.

10. Think about the need for travel.

Most business professionals take flights, private cars and public transport to their places of work or for their meetings. These objects emit so much carbon dioxide gases to the environment which results in global warming. Public transport is a greener option.

11. Replace your light bulbs.

Compact Fluorescent light bulbs can be used instead of regular light bulbs. If a CFL is used instead of 60 watt incandescent one saves $30 over the life of this bulb. In addition, CFL bulbs last much longer, 10 times, more than incandescent bulbs. They also use two-thirds less energy while giving off 70% less heat. If a CFL is used instead of a regular bulb, it eliminates around 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases which is the same as taking 7.5 million cars off our roads. Use natural light during the day instead of keeping lights on unnecessarily.

12. Dry clothes on a washing line.

To dry clothes one does not require the use of natural gas or electricity. Using ironing boxes means that much heat is generated and emitted into the atmosphere which results into increased greenhouse gases.

13. Opt for non-toxic household products.

Most of the household cleaning products are considered toxic besides being petroleum-based. These products are considered as the main causes of high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These toxic chemicals can be eliminated through choosing products which are less hazardous to the lives of people or the environment.

14. Switch off.

By switching off the electricity when you are not using it saves energy – ie your computer, television, music systems and unplug any appliances that are not being used especially our mobile charging systems because even though they are switched off, they sap energy. Water should be used sparingly, for example when brushing your teeth you should turn off the water. Also, when shampooing the dog or washing your car, you have to stop the water flow until you are done.

Main take-home? Learn to conserve in general. If we simply use less, we need to process less. Simple. To increase our awareness about the effects of greenhouses,  programs and policies have to be set to help with information and knowledge sharing. We all need to become more active at encouraging recycling and energy conservation so that becomes second nature to more people.

Credit:  conserve-energy-future.com

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