Every day we make choices – what we eat, where we go, what we purchase. Have you considered the energy and resources used in your everyday life? Or how our choices further impact climate change?
Carbon Footprint defined by the EPA is “the total amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere each year by a person, family, building, organization, or company. A person’s carbon footprint includes greenhouse gas emissions from fuel that an individual burns directly, such as by heating a home or riding in a car. It also includes greenhouse gases that come from producing the goods or services that the individual uses, including emissions from power plants that make electricity, factories that make products, and landfills where trash gets sent.”
So what are some easy steps you can take to reducing your carbon footprint?
- Drive less – walk, ride your bike, take public transportation, and plan out your trips so you can combine errands into fewer trips. Make air travel less frequent, shorter, and fly economy class (more people per plane/mile can reduce the impact of each individual).
- Buy your food local! On average, produce travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate.
- Lower your water usage, so less water is sent to Water Treatment Facilities, and purchase water efficient appliances (shower heads, faucets, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines). Helpful hint: turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth!
- For waste, remember the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle – and in that order.
- Lastly, purchase energy efficient appliances, light bulbs (LED), consider renewable energy options for your home or office, properly insulate your home so it can better regulate temperature, and avoid having the heat or air conditioning running while you are not home.
As an individual, you can offset your carbon footprint by positively impacting your community through the following ways: volunteering, helping with projects that will increase green space, planting trees, or reducing waste, and increasing public knowledge of carbon emissions & energy consumption. Take a step in the right direction to understanding and reducing your carbon footprint today: earthday.org/take-action/footprint-calculator.
Clean Energy Investments; what will this look like for Ohio’s economy and sustainability in the future? The video link below gives a glimpse into the past, present, and future of energy in Ohio: cdnapisec.kaltura.com/index.php/extwidget/preview/partner_id/1012331/uiconf_id/24075381/entry_id/1_scmw0km4/embed/dynamic
25+ Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: cotap.org/reduce-carbon-footprint/
Interesting article on the carbon footprint of a loaf of bread: npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/02/27/517531611/whats-the-environmental-footprint-of-a-loaf-of-bread-now-we-know
Lauren Vargo is a Program Coordinator for CD/ANR in Cuyahoga County (Western Reserve EERA).