Climate Change: How to Decrease your Carbon Footprint
Climate change is complex. Honestly, when you sit down and really think about it, it can be overwhelming and even hard to grasp. How do we fix a problem that seems completely out of our reach? The science behind climate change is complicated and when it comes to the long-term effects, there is a lot left to the unknown.
Making a real effort and changing your behaviour to offset your environmental impact, can begin by making climate change and it’s various intricacies easier to comprehend. How do you do this? You begin to understand the problem at hand in steps…. Starting with your carbon footprint.
Every person on the planet has a carbon footprint. It is defined by the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production, use and end of life of a product or service. The bulk of our human emissions come from transportation, food and housing.
Things to consider, when trying to offset your carbon footprint:
How much do you travel and how do you get to where you’re going?
One way to lessen your carbon footprint is to consider how much you travel (& your mode of transportation).
What you eat… yeah it does really matter:
I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again, that one of the best ways to combat your climate impact is to go vegan. Although this is partly true; if you’re eating a clean, vegan diet, your impact is likely way less than someone who eats a lot of red meat. But going vegan isn’t a prerequisite to solving climate change. You don’t have to change your diet completely… you should just be more mindful of what you eat, where and how it was produced/harvested and yes eat a little less meat. Everything in moderation is okay, but eating a cleaner/greener diet is better for both the earth & you combined.
Also, most of the GHG emissions are a product of the food production, not necessarily the transportation used to get your food to your table. So eating locally produced is great for the economy but eating less highly processed foods is better for the environment overall.
Buy Less or shop sustainably:
One industry that often goes unnoticed in the realm of climate change and carbon footprints, is fashion. Unbeknownst to most, the fashion industry is one of the leading culprits of climate change because of its wasteful production tendencies, rapid trend overturn and insatiable consumer attitudes.
Although there are many companies who are trying to change the industry for the better, there are still many who are guilty of green-washing and also many consumers who haven’t yet changed their habits to really be conscious.
There are ways you individually can change your behaviour though and that includes:
1. Shop vintage
Giving a new life to old pieces is a great way to keep fashion out of landfills and it’s super inexpensive.
2. Always ask yourself if it’s needed & if not, donate your existing items
Never throw things away (even the rattiest of clothing can be reused as dish rags, etc.)
3. Bring a reusable bag
Making sure you have a reusable bag with you at all times should be second nature. But in the case that you don’t have one on hand, opt for paper, reuse the plastic or go bag-less all together
4. Invest in Quality (avoid fast-fashion)
In the age of social media and rapid trend turnover, waste is becoming a significant problem for the industry. But this is really up to consumers to change, the worst thing you could do is continuously buy from fast-fashion companies, just to have the trends die within a few months. If you are a fashionista of sorts (like myself), try your best to find alternatives. Invest in “staple” items, build a capsule wardrobe, define your own personal style and look for thrifted alternatives to the trendy pieces you find yourself wanting. When you are ready to retire your items, donate them. Your trash will likely be another’s treasure!
When it comes to combating climate change, targeting your carbon footprint is the easiest way to do so on an individual level. The more people who take action in their life and change their behaviour to become more conscious, the more mobilization there will be on a grander scale and the closer we will get to slowing down the effects of climate change, one carbon negative footprint at a time.