If you want to take control of your personal responsibility for climate change, you must adopt sustainable, environmentally responsible lifestyle choices. Here are a few ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Eat whole, organic, and local.
Approximately 13 percent of the greenhouse gasses emitted in the United States come from food production and transportation. While agricultural production is a major carbon emitter, the ultra-processed, convenience foods industry contributes significantly to the climate crisis both directly (through industrial processes, transportation, and packaging waste) and indirectly (through the health costs to the human population from eating synthetic, unhealthful processed foods).
Whenever possible, shop from the grocery store perimeter. This means buying whole, unpackaged vegetables and fruits to minimize plastic and paper waste. Buying local produce also means you aren’t supporting long-distance food transportation that consumes fuel and contributes to total greenhouse gas emissions.
Organic fruits, vegetables, and meats are also grown without chemical herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides, all of which cause significant environmental harm to soils and groundwater.
Eat less meat and dairy.
Going vegetarian significantly reduces your carbon footprint. Raising cows requires huge amounts of resources – whole tropical forests are routinely cleared in South America to create grazing pastures.
The more you walk to your destinations, the less of a carbon footprint you will leave. Walking, riding a bike, rollerblading, or skateboarding are all environmentally friendly alternatives to driving.
Drive an electric car — if you live in a region with clean electricity.
Electric cars emit no carbon dioxide emissions, but in states that source their power from natural gas and coal plants, the environmental benefits of owning electric vehicles are significantly reduced. If you live in a state that uses fossil fuels for electric power and you don’t have home solar panels, driving a hybrid or a vehicle with high miles-per-gallon could be the better bet.
Avoid air travel when possible.
This might mean taking fewer international vacations, but air travel accounts for more than one billion tons of carbon emissions globally. Staycations and road trips (in eco-friendly vehicles) are the most environmentally friendly options.
When you do fly, fly economy class.
Economy class is the air travel version of public transit. The more people traveling on a single plane, the less overall emissions per person are generated.
Never fly on a private jet.
Private jets, though luxurious, are responsible for the highest level of CO2 emissions per passenger mile flown.
Make sure your home is properly insulated.
You use less energy to heat and cool your home when your windows and doors don’t leak.
Use energy-efficient appliances.
If you’re in the market for a new washer/dryer, dishwasher, furnace, or air conditioner, look for ENERGY STAR-labeled appliances.
Keep your thermostat at a moderate temperature.
Don’t keep your home heated to a toasty temperature in the winter or cooled to glacial levels in the summer. The harder your home heating and cooling system has to work, the more energy you use.
Forest Founders was established to raise awareness of global deforestation’s role in the climate crisis. To learn more about how you can support tree planting initiatives, please visit our information page.