Did you know that the average person in the US has a carbon footprint of 16 tonnes? That’s a lot of pollution! In this blog post, we will discuss ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint from home. We will explain what a carbon footprint is, why reducing it is important, and the effects of increasing and decreasing it have on our environment. We will also provide tips and tricks on how to minimise your carbon footprint!

What Is Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is the number of greenhouse gases that are emitted as a result of human activities. Carbon footprints can be measured in tonnes or kilograms of CO².

Carbon footprints can include emissions from transportation, energy consumption, food production, and waste.

Every person carries their own carbon footprint, however as mentioned earlier, the average carbon footprint in the US is 16 tonnes, while the whole world average at 4 tonnes. While this is a massive drop from 16 Tonnes it is still double of what scientists believe is sustainable.

Why Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Is Important.

Our carbon footprint is considered the basic measurement of our contribution to global warming, the higher it is the more we are contributing. Carbon footprints and global warming are interconnected because the main greenhouse gas that is causing global warming, CO², is also emitted from carbon footprints.

In addition to this, other effects of climate change such as floods and hurricanes can have a devastating impact on human lives and property. So not only is our Carbon Footprint bad for the environment, but it also has social consequences.

The Effects Increasing Carbon Footprint Has On The Environment.

When it comes to the environment, there are both short-term and long-term effects of increasing your carbon footprint.

Short-term effects can include things such as increased levels of air pollution, acid rain, and water shortages. All of which can have a negative impact on human health and ecosystems. For example, increased levels of air pollution can cause respiratory problems in people who breathe it in regularly.

Longer-term effects can include changes in climate patterns which could lead to drastic weather changes that disrupt natural ecosystems and food chains. It could also lead to the melting of glaciers and the displacement of plant and animal species.

We have seen some examples of increasing carbon footprint short-term effects in different parts of the world. For example, there was a recent water crisis in Cape Town, South Africa due to three years of consecutive drought which is attributed to climate change. A long-term example includes the displacement of the polar bears as their natural habitats are melting due to global warming. These long-term effects are likely cases that are irreversible and will have devastating consequences if we do not take significant action to reduce our carbon footprint.

The Effects Decreasing Carbon Footprint Has On The Environment.

Just as there are short and long-term effects of increasing your carbon footprint, the same is true for decreasing it.

Short-term effects can include things such as less air pollution, more forest cover, and improved water quality. All of which have positive impacts on human health and ecosystems. For example, decreased levels of air pollution mean that people won’t be breathing in harmful chemicals that can cause respiratory problems.

Longer-term effects can include changes in climate patterns which could lead to decreases in temperature, rainfall, or sea levels. It could also lead to an increase in plant and animal species.

We have seen some examples of decreasing carbon footprint short-term effects in different parts of the world. For example, there was a recent study that showed the world’s forests are growing at a rate of about 0.27% a year, which is attributed to people taking action to reduce their carbon footprints. A long-term example includes the increase of the humpback whale population as their natural habitats are no longer being disrupted by climate change.

While both decreasing and increasing your carbon footprint has short and long-term effects, scientists believe that reducing your carbon footprint is the most important action we can take to prevent irreversible damage to our planet.

So now you might be wondering how you can go about reducing your own carbon footprint?

Luckily there are many things we can do right from our homes that will make a significant difference. Here are some tips:

Tips On How You Can Minimise Your Carbon Footprint

At Home

  • Get a Kilowatt Electricity Usage Monitor: This device plugs into your electrical outlet and tells you how much electricity each appliance in your house is using. This way you can identify which appliances are using the most energy and work to replace them with more energy-efficient ones.
  • Change Your Light Bulbs: LED light bulbs use 80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and last up to 25 times longer. So make the switch to save some energy and money!
  • Unplug electronics when not in use: Many electronics such as phones, laptops, or tablets continue to draw power even when they are turned off. By unplugging these devices when not in use, you can save on your electricity bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Install Solar Panels: If you have the means, installing solar panels is a great way to generate renewable energy and reduce your reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Compost: Composting food waste instead of throwing it in the trash can help reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of methane gas produced from landfills.
  • Recycle: Recycling helps reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills and reduces the need for new materials to be created, which in turn reduces your carbon footprint.

While Travelling

  • Fly Less:  Air travel is one of the most carbon-intensive ways to travel and emits harmful gases like nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide. Try to limit your air travel as much as possible or consider alternative modes of transportation like buses or trains.
  • Stay Close To Home: When you do need to travel, try to choose destinations that are close by so you don’t have to fly. This will help reduce your carbon footprint from travelling.
  • Pack Light: The more luggage you bring, the more fuel your plane has to use to transport it. Pack light whenever possible for a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Ride A Bike:  If your destination is close enough, consider riding a bike instead of driving or taking public transportation. This is a great way to get some exercise and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time!

While Shopping

  • Buy Second Hand:  Buying second-hand clothing, furniture, and other household items is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only do you save money, but you’re also keeping things out of the landfill.
  • Buy Local: When possible, try to buy produce and other goods from local businesses instead of big box stores. This helps reduce the number of emissions produced from transportation.
  • Skip Plastics: Plastic is one of the most environmentally harmful materials and takes centuries to decompose. Try to avoid using plastics as much as possible or bring your own reusable bags for vegetables, don’t purchase plastic bottles, and instead use a reusable metal drink bottle.
  • Reduce Food Waste: Americans waste an estimated 40% of the food they purchase each year. By reducing the amount of food we waste, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint.
  • Take a reusable bag:  Wherever you go shopping, bring a reusable bag with you instead of using plastic or paper bags. This small change can help reduce the amount of waste produced from shopping.

There are many ways we can reduce our carbon footprint from home, while travelling, and even while you’re shopping. By making small changes in our everyday lives, we can all work together to help protect our environment. Let’s make a difference for the planet!