In the face of global climate change, greenhouse gas emission is a great concern. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global carbon emissions amount to over 33 billion tons.
The high amounts of carbon in the environment cause global warming, which results in climate change. This causes extreme weather events that have adverse effects on humans, animals, and plants. Temperatures rise, wildfires increase, polar ice caps melt,sea levels rise, flooding occurs, harsher winters happen, and rainfall declines. The planet becomes more and more inhabitable.
While real action to curb climate change requires a global approach, there are various personal choices you can make in your day-to-day life to reduce your carbon footprint. Whether at home, at work, or traveling, you can do things that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
What is Carbon Footprint?
Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to the environment as a result of human activity. It is the measure of greenhouse gas emissions that occur due to human actions either directly or indirectly. Carbon footprint is measured in metric tons for a particular activity, product, organization, etc.
This article guides you on how to reduce your carbon footprint. Read on!
Carbon Offset Programs
Only the elimination of the actions that cause climate change in the first place are the perfect solution, in the meantime, carbon offset programs are a way to help compensate the planet for your greenhouse gas emissions. Through carbon offset programs, you finance projects that help combat climate change. It’s a great way to improve biodiversity, enhance reforestation, and socially benefit communities.
Carbon offset programs intend to balance the emissions through emission-combating initiatives. These programs have special calculators that track your overall footprint, making it easy for you to figure out the impact of your activities.
Our most respected carbon offset programs include:
Wren is a highly transparent carbon offset program that helps offset an equal amount of your carbon footprint. It allows individuals to take meaningful action by supporting reforestation, regenerative agriculture, and green energy projects.
While purchasing offsets is wildly confusing, Wren provides a straightforward approach to offsetting. The carbon calculator gives users real insight into their carbon footprint. Also, anyone offsetting their carbon footprint with Wren receives timely updates about the progress of their projects. Wren’s goal is to revolutionize carbon offsetting with a transparent approach that positively impacts the environment.
Terrapass runs high-quality carbon offsetting projects for individuals and businesses. This carbon offset tool is a leading offset partner, especially for aviation providers, one of the largest carbon emission culprits. It’s a great platform to choose if you are interested in offsetting your travel carbon footprint.
Terrapass helps you understand your carbon footprint and has various plans that you can choose. Its major projects include green energy, regenerative agriculture, land gas capture, and reforestation.
GoClimate is a self-serve solution that helps organizations offset their greenhouse emissions. This offset tool provides tailored climate reports and advisories highlighting the essential steps to take as an organization.
GoClimate’s projects are certified by the UN and other independent climate standards such as Gold Standard, Plan Vivio, and Fair Trade. These projects have been verified for actual climate benefit.
Plant a Garden
Planting your own garden goes a long way to reducing your carbon footprint. First, a garden reduces your reliance on grocery store vegetables. Grocery stores may be stocking produce that has been shipped or trucked there from great distances.
With your garden, you can channel compost manure to avoid using synthetic fertilizers. Compost manure provides the perfect solution to fertilizers and reduces waste channeled to incinerators and landfills.
Do you prefer taking a car every time you move from point A to B? If yes, you must do something about it. Walking is the perfect solution if you want to reduce your carbon footprint generated from automobiles. Every time you choose to walk somewhere rather than drive, you eliminate the CO2 that would have been exhausted from your car. This way, you will get fitter, reduce fossil fuel usage, and connect with the environment.
Take a Bike
As with walking, if you're headed to the grocery shop or running a few errands in your home town, taking a bike rather than a car is a great idea. A bike rather than a car is always a great idea. It’s inexpensive, has no emissions, and contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
Cycling is a means of green transportation. Rather than taking a car or taxi every time you want to travel, if you're physically able to, you could opt to take a bike instead. Bikes do not consume any fuels and help you to exercise more. As a traveler, you could even take a bike tour and explore the world sustainably.
Sustainable airlines such as Transavia France, LATAM Brasil, KLM, and Alaska Airlines are some of the most sustainable airlines to consider. This is because most of these airlines use eco-friendly biofuel and have proper waste disposal mechanisms.
You can consider other sustainable flying practices such as:
- Traveling off-peak seasons
- Taking direct flights
- Offsetting flight travels
Share a Taxi or Uber
If you have to take a taxi, how about sharing it with fellow travelers? Sharing a taxi or using Uber’s ‘share a ride’ can be a daunting prospect, and you won’t have time to look around for passengers. Luckily, there are various taxi-sharing platforms that you can use to connect with fellow travelers.
Sharing a taxi reduces the number of cars on the road simultaneously, reducing the fuel burnt and hence lower carbon emissions.
Eat Less Meat
Did you know meat contributes to large amounts of carbon emissions? Wondering how? Currently, common meats such as beef, chicken, and pork are produced through unsustainable agricultural methods. To sustain the global demand, more forest cover has to be cleared for farming, not to mention the production of feed-grain. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), meat production accounts for 14% of all greenhouse emissions.
For every gram of beef produced, over 220 grams of carbon are emitted. You can significantly reduce your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by eating less meat, and more vegetables and plant based meals. You could even opt for edible insects!
Avoid Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, cooking gas, and lubricants contribute to the largest part of carbon emissions. Minimizing the use of fossil fuels can reduce your carbon footprint significantly. Some of the best ways to minimize the use of fossil fuels include:
Cook with Biogas
Biogas is an eco-friendly means of cooking. Unlike liquid petroleum gas (LPG), biogas is produced from animal waste and compost manure. Its production and use are highly eco-friendly and have negligible negative impact on the environment. As a result, shifting from LPG to biogas will reduce your carbon footprint significantly. You can purchase biogas from independent suppliers to produce at home with a simple biogas digester in your backyard. Biogas is produced through decomposing wet organic waste in a simple biogas digester.
Install Solar Power
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, it’s the right time to shift to solar power. Solar power is free, eco-friendly, and does not pollute the environment. You can use solar energy for lighting, heating, cooking, and much more.
Solar energy is the ultimate source of power if you live in tropical regions with constant sunlight the entire year. If you live in Africa, the Middle East, California, Australia, consider solar power. All you need is solar panels, a few cables, and a solar battery, and you are good to go.
Consider Electric Cars and Bikes
Electric cars and bikes are a great alternative to their gasoline and diesel counterparts. Electricity is more eco-friendly compared to both fossil fuels and will reduce your carbon footprint. Electric cars and bikes ensure you do not have to burn lots of fuel day in day out when traveling. If electric cars are out of your budget, you can opt for hybrid ones that consume way less fuel.
Use Energy-Saving Appliances
Most of the world’s electricity is generated from the burning of fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, and petroleum. Therefore, it’s best to use as minimal electrical energy as possible. Energy-inefficient appliances consume a lot of electricity and are major contributors to carbon emissions.
Always use energy-efficient bulbs, showers, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Consider programmable thermostats that can automatically turn on the air/heat conditioning when you are away from home.
Purchase Eco-friendly Clothing
According to the World Bank, fashion contributes to 10% of global carbon emissions. Activities such as fabric dyeing and treatment and worn-out clothing disposal lead to dizzying amounts of carbon emission. For instance, producing a pair of jeans results in around 33kg of carbon emissions.
Purchasing eco-friendly clothing is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. There are various brands that make affordable eco-friendly clothing to choose from. This way, you will reduce the need for fast fashion, a major cause of carbon emissions.
Use Recyclable Water Bottles
Plastic is a significant environmental hazard, not only when it ends up in the oceans strangling sea life, but also in the process of producing the plastic in the first place. Manufacturing ethylene, the main building block for most plastics, contributes to about 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions. To avoid using plastic bottles, it’s best to shift to reusable water bottles that are more ethical and do not negatively impact the planet.
Stay in Green Hotels
Where do you stay when traveling? Our travel habits contribute immensely to carbon emissions, and that’s why it’s a good idea to choose green hotels when seeking accommodation. Green hotels certified by independent organizations incorporate ethical practices, and this reduces your overall carbon footprint.
Also, it’s a great idea to consider more ethical and eco-friendly Airbnb alternatives.
Travel off-the-beaten Path
Most people consider the obvious, most traveled destinations already suffering from overtourism. Mostly, these destinations are more polluted, experience traffic, and have a counter effect on nature and the local communities.
Traveling off-the-beaten-path is the future of travel. This way, you don’t add to the overwhelming traffic or contribute to massive waste pollution. For instance, off-the-beaten-path travel in Kenya allows you to explore untouched wildlife and cultural destinations. On the other hand, off-the-beaten-path destinations in Mexico will enable you to explore the country's biodiversity, culture, and coastline attractions.
Use Public Transport
How often do you take the bus or train? Public transport allows many people to use a common vehicle, minimizing the use of numerous cars. Also, it’s a great way to reduce traffic jams and the use of gasoline and diesel.
Compost Your Food Waste
There isn’t a better way to dispose of your kitchen waste than compositing. A compost is a simple pit or container for disposing of organic waste. Composting takes a lot of pressure off of landfills, and range from simple backyard pits to commercial composters. Composted manure is an organic fertilizer that has minimal environmental effects.
Consider Virtual Travels
Virtual travels are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. With online virtual tours, you don’t have to visit physically.
Thanks to cutting-edge technology, virtual travel tours provide a simulation of your favorite travel destinations, reducing the need to travel physically. You can enjoy virtual reality tours from the comfort of your home.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Your everyday goal should be to emit as minimal carbon as possible. While it’s impossible to emit zero carbon, you can always turn to Wren to offset your carbon footprint.
Disclaimer: Hey reader! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using any of these links, we'll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Hidden Lemur is committed to promoting sustainable travel, and we only partner with brands that we believe contribute positively to that cause.