How I’m Reducing my Carbon Footprint (AND YOU CAN TOO!)

Recently I’ve decided that since the ultimate goal for me is to become a conservationist, I should really figure out exactly how much I am contributing to the problem. So, I filled out a quick survey to calculate my carbon footprint and learned that on average my carbon footprint is 39,402 lbs. per year. That is solely from my energy usage at home as well as the emissions from my car. The average american emits 55,000 lbs. of CO2 every single year, and yet this calculation only accurately accounts for 40% of our carbon footprint. Another 60% is from what we buy, and luckily, we can control what and where we buy from. (carbonfund) So, without any more rambling, here is how I am reducing my carbon footprint and how you can too.

  • Maintain your car!
    • As simple as this may seem, upkeep on an object that is literally over a ton can be frustrating. I’ve created a biweekly schedule to make sure my tire pressure is where it needs to be, and I am learning how to change my own oil so that I can afford to change out filters whenever need-be, as well as learn what it looks like when a filter becomes an environmental problem.
    • Don’t drive like crazy. My old car was a speed demon and that was my mistake. Accelerate slowly, go the speed limit, and don’t constantly ride your breaks.
  • If you can, walk or bike to your destination. No carbon footprints, just actual ones!
    • This one’s pretty simple. Learn to bundle up and leave 10 minutes early if your work is in-town. Bring a backpack with your work clothes if you’re afraid of getting too sweaty. It’ll help you as well as the world.
  • Reduce your electricity output.
    • Unfortunately I live in an apartment where I am not allowed to do any maintenance on it. If you own your own home, caulk up any places where cold air can seep through and rack up your heating bill. If you’re too poor to afford a house yet (like me), you can cover these areas with a towel. Make sure to check frequently however, because towels tend to absorb moisture and changing them out often can prevent mold.
    • Unplug any appliances not in use.
    • Take shorter warm showers, or sometimes take a cold shower. It’s not
  • If you can E-mail it, don’t print it!
    • I recently decided to go back to college (took the year off) and I am doing it entirely online not only because it will fit to my schedule better, but because environmentally speaking taking a traditional class wastes thousands of lbs of paper each semester. It is so much better for the environment as well as your personal space to save important documents to a USB.
  • Buy/Use Secondhand!
    • This one is actually my favorite challenge. I have two thrift stores in my town and I am determined to buy 90% of my clothing from them with exception to underwear. I’m also the kind of person who likes to look good, so it can’t just be the 3-for-$1 T-Shirt buy, I have to find actually cute shirts to reuse, which is surprisingly not that difficult, and the cost is near painless.
    • Utilize craigslist and other websites like it to find cheaper options for what you need as well as anything you might want. With all this extra money being green is making you, you might be able to afford a new hobby!
    • Make sure to also utilize your local library. There is no need to buy books when you can get them for free for an extended period of time for free, and the late fee is practically a dime.
    • If you need something for a project, before buying it ask around and see if you can borrow something. If a friend or coworker already has a plethora of what you need, being thankful is better than being wasteful.
  • Avoid Plastic and Styrofoam at all costs!
    • When shopping, bring your own bags. We’ve all got the giant plastic bag filled with more plastic bags. You don’t need more. I promise.
    • Outright refuse to buy anything in Styrofoam packaging. Styrofoam does not decompose and seriously reeks havoc on our landfills, not to mention if it does’t make it there and some poor animal thinks it’s food. They can be dumb, but they don’t deserve to die.
    • Dunkin Donuts has a policy where if you bring in one of their travel mugs (clean of course), they must fill it up instead of giving you your coffee in a  plastic cup.Find ways around being handed plastic when ordering things to-go. Which brings me to my next point.
  • Avoid Fast Food!
    • It’s hell on your body. It’s hell on the environment. They overstock which means they oversupply dead animals to their chains. They waste food. Do I really need to explain this one?
  • Buy locally and reduce your meat intake!
    • I know the steak looks godly. But to raise animals for food purposes creates a heavy CO2 trail that I really don’t want to look into right now. That’ll be a whole research project in itself, and I’m sure an entire preachy post will come from that research. Not to mention if that slab of steak comes from Illinois and I’m in New Hampshire, how much gas do you think was wasted from that trip when there’s a cow farmer right down the road struggling to make ends meet?
  • Only buy what you will actually use!
    • I’m trying my best to create a minimalist lifestyle for myself because I know that I have plenty of clutter that others might find useful. I, however, find it to be in the way. Find the time to go through your things, emotionally detach yourself from them, and let what you don’t need go.
    • If you’re buying excess food, freeze it before it goes bad. Wasting food creates a carbon trail all so that you could waste it. Now, I’m guilty of it too, but no more.
  • Stop getting junk mail.
    • It sounds crazy but here’s some logic to it; the average american adult gets 41 pounds of junk mail each year. That’s the size of my first dog and he was not that light. Paper leaves a carbon trail.
    • How to get rid of it: 41pounds.org will get you off of unwanted mailing lists.

Sooo, yeah. There’s my list. Make sure to get as many of your friends to follow it as well!

Adventure on!

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