Sustainable Living: 6 Actionable Ways that You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Achieving climate change is a joint task that can only be realized if all of us play our roles. Reducing one’s carbon footprint is one duty everybody shares— and can be done while carrying on with our normal lives. Most of the measures you need to take do not demand special time and attention, all they need is some commitment and an environmentally-conscious mind.

So what are some of the simple ways you can help save your planet while living your routine life?

1. Always unplug electronic devices when not in use

Most people think turning off their sockets is enough, and are surprised to learn that leaving any electronic plugged in sucks a lot of power. According to federal research, the United States alone drains up to $19 billion in energy in this form every year.

Anytime you leave a device plugged into a powerpoint; it sucks up energy – so your carbon footprint is increasing even though your device isn’t running or charging. The remedy; Unplug all devices unless you’re using them. Whether you use solar panels or get power from the national grid system, be sure to cut down on the wastes.

2. Drive only when you must

Walk with pals, ride a bicycle or take the train or bus instead of your car and you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint.  With more bike lanes on our roads, many people are taking bikes to work or nearly any other any place they feel comfortable. Cities are focusing on putting infrastructure to ease the job for those who don’t want to or can’t own a car.

The US alone boasts of over 65 million proud cyclists, a number that has gone up dramatically over the last five years. Rapidly increasing populations have increased demand to streamline public transportation more than ever, and routes like trains, subways, buses, and rapid transit keep growing.

Most present-day bus routes are shifting to solar power, hybrids, and other environmentally friendly alternatives. After all, how much are solar panels compared to the damage we are doing to our surrounding?

3. Keep off “Fast Fashion”

Leading clothing brands practice “fast fashion” – the practice of selling a limitless cycle of “must-have” attire trends at throwaway prices. Ask yourself how it is possible to buy that tee-shirt for less than $5?

The new-age consumer society treats fashion as disposable— after all, the shirt only cost me $4, why the hell can’t I throw it and get the latest style for the same or a bit more?

This mentality has led to more purchases, and eventually Heaps of clothing that end up in landfills, often in the name of rocking the latest styles. We’re wasting a lot of textiles— and with quantity over quality in mind, fast fashion brands can charge throwaway prices for their mass-produced items. They make these outfits easy to sell by coming up with more fashion “seasons” or “cycles”.

Also, there’s the matter of contamination: nearly half of what we wear includes cotton. And the increasing demand means we are considering genetically modified cotton, instead of “organic” cotton. The danger with genetically modified cotton is; they need to be sprayed with several pesticides (some containing carcinogens) which can be harmful to nearby non-GMO crops. It could also lead to water contamination, and jeopardize biodiversity, and negatively affect human health.

Try other excellent alternatives like re-purposing your old apparel or shopping for locally handmade wears, going vintage, or swapping clothes with willing family and friends.

4. Dry your clothes on the line

Some new ways of doing things are costly not only to our pockets but also to our well-being in the future. Nothing was really wrong with the traditional style of line-drying clothes— it was eco-friendly and cost-effective— until washing and drying machines came into the picture and we got absorbed into their frenzy.

Did you know that one dryer load consumes five times more power than washing? That means line-drying your clothing, can cut your carbon footprint by 1/3. Regrettably, line-drying remains America’s leading power waster even though they’ve learned that operating a cloth dryer is equal to switching on 225 light bulbs for one hour.

Europeans, however, practice this well (almost 95% of Italians don’t own a drying machine).

5. Have a small garden regardless of where you live

Whether you reside in a rental or your home, it is advisable to have some greens growing around you. It is a quicker and effortless way to be friendly to the surrounding. Everyone should remember that green plants absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen– a useful relationship for us that we should jointly seek to nurture.

Find some space around you and plant a few trees, flowers, or a vegetable garden. If you reside on a higher floor, then consider a balcony garden. Cities must minimize the “urban heat island” effect by planting as much vegetation as possible because cities tend hotter than rural areas.

Saving spaces for plants, and trees can control this effect and lead to cooling, which is a necessity with the deteriorating climate conditions.

6. Consume local foods (and Organic)

Stick to locally grown foods—those cultured in your city or area, it helps reduce the carbon footprint caused by shipping foreign foods. A rule of thumb for where your food is grown? The closer the source from you, the better.

Vegetables, crops or fruits grown in your local farm are cheaper because the environmental cost is considerably reduced—and there are greater nutrient benefits. You don’t need to take that long trip to get food. Getting food from a remote town or country via plane, train, ship, or truck means you have to keep it fresh, so it doesn’t go bad which leads to reduced quality, and leached nutrients. Plus, a whole journey means lots of carbon emission to the atmosphere which is also against what we are trying to do (save our planet).

It is also equally beneficial to eat organic foods, not spewed with toxic pesticides and other eco-hazardous chemicals. Also, keep off processed foods: most of them bad for you and the earth.

The bottom line

Everyone should try these simple, cost-free ways to make simple changes to our environment. What you decide to do will make a difference, and always remind everyone that they have a collective responsibility to address climate change.

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