Five sustainable ways to decrease your carbon footprint
In 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that humanity has 12 years to reverse the effects of carbon emissions in our atmosphere. Their warnings have continued. This message is finally making it to large energy corporations, insurance firms, and the public, but long-term, sustainable action is still needed. It’s true that 20 companies emit a third of all carbon emissions, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all do our best to mitigate our own carbon footprint. Below are five ways you can cut down on how much you are contributing to the climate crisis.
Each household has things it needs. It’s difficult to cut down on energy and water use, but there are plenty of ways to do so. One great method is to change to smart appliances. Smart washers and dryers save energy and water. Smart refrigerators cut down on power and help you use all of the food you eat. The best smart appliance might be smart thermostats, which provide a method to keep your home comfortable while cutting down on heating and cooling. Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your house on your phone so that it’s comfortable when you return, without having to keep it on all day.
Trees take in the carbon dioxide that we pump into the atmosphere and make the oxygen we can breathe out of it. That’s why we need more trees planted and to cut down less of them. One option is to utilize bamboo paper products, which are durable, strong, and often reusable. Beyond paper, cotton products can also be recycled and reused. For example, reusable cotton rounds are used to take off makeup and wash your face. Instead of throwing away the cotton balls every time you use them, these rounds can be used again and again.
Bathroom and kitchen products are full of chemicals and wasteful materials like plastic. You don’t have to settle for the traditional products that are horrible for the environment. Buy bamboo toothbrushes instead of the plastic ones. Go for bamboo toilet paper. Use all-natural soaps. Use bamboo utensils and plates instead of plastic. Organic sponges are another zero-waste product that benefits both your body and the planet. When you take a look at konjac sponge benefits, for example, you will find that they are great for your skin and are better for the environment because they don’t use polyester, polyurethane, or other oil-based plastics. When you’re looking for bathroom products, make the effort to choose the sustainable option.
Transportation makes up a huge portion of greenhouse gas emissions that warm our planet. Instead of driving your gas-fueled vehicle all the time, choose to take public transportation, walk, ride a bike, or buy an electric car. You can’t do much about emissions from space rockets, but you can control when and how often you drive a gas vehicle. President Biden recently signed an executive order aiming to make half of all new cars electric by 2030. But since the UN’s IPCC said that 2030 is the year climate change is irreversible, this has to become a reality sooner. Buying an electric car is a great start, but don’t drive when you don’t need to.
At this point, it is a cliché, but it’s still true. Solar is one of the industries on the rise in response to the climate crisis. One reason that solar panels have become so popular is that if you live in a sunny place, you can produce so much energy that you actually make money selling it back to the grid. Solar panels no longer have to look ugly. You can even have a whole sleek roof made out of them. No one would know. If you own your home and get a decent amount of sunshine, there is absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t be investing in solar.
While all of these methods are a good start, a lot more will need to be done in order to mitigate the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases we have in the atmosphere warming the planet. But don’t despair. It’s important to keep up hope and keep the environment on your mind when you’re making everyday decisions.
Ryan Beitler is a journalist, writer, and blogger who has written about environmental issues for dozens of publications.