There are many different factors that are the cause of the rapid climate changes happening to our planet. Most of them, if not all, are caused directly from human activity on the planet, and include but are not limited to, greenhouse gases, transportation, littering and waste management, the creation and use of plastics, and food production and personal diet. The factors listed can all be linked to the production of greenhouse gases. Below, there are a few tactics that people can use in their everyday lives to help reduce their carbon footprint.
First lets define Carbon footprint. Carbon footprint can be defined as “the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.”
Transportation plays an important role in our day to day lives. Most of us have mandatory places to go during the week that we can’t miss, like work or school. Driving to these places every day may not seem like it has much of an impact on carbon emissions, but it is much more detrimental than you’d think considering the numerous amount of people who drive to and from these places every day. To fight this, people can take public transportation which helps cut these emissions by limiting the number of cars being driven. You could also carpool to your destination, putting one less car on the road. If you need to go somewhere close, consider if you can walk there first before taking a car.
Waste management and littering are also contributors to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Decomposing garbage creates some of the largest amounts of methane within our atmosphere. Methane is much more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat. To help keep methane levels at a minimum we need to reduce how much litter and short dumping there is in our area. Short dumping refers to when trash is taken to a city street or vacant lot and left there. Finding the proper ways to dispose of our waste is imperative because there will always be more of it.
Plastics are everywhere and they come in many different shapes and sizes. Most plastics can be found in our oceans, lakes, and rivers. There are even micro-plastics, less than five millimeters long, that are hiding in our everyday food and household items. Since plastics take around 1,000 years to decompose, it is crucial we find better ways to reduce how much we use, reuse any plastics that we can, and recycle any plastics we absolutely cannot use. You can cut back on buying plastic water bottles and get a reusable water bottle. Also, instead of using the plastics bags that stores offer you for groceries, invest in some reusable bags.
Finally, there’s food production and personal diets that also increase the amount of greenhouse gases trapping heat in our atmosphere. The two food groups with the largest impact are red meat and dairy products. Meat is much more accessible now than it was during the time humans were hunters and gatherers, but that doesn’t mean that we have to ingest these things daily. If you want to change your diet to help reduce your carbon footprint, you can start by eating less of both of these products.
There are many things we can do to help minimize our carbon footprint and not just the options found within the article. Try going a day or two without red meat or dairy. Maybe one day a week, you can take public transit or walk to work. We can only fight climate change together, so we need to be aware of the harm we are bringing to the planet as well as the good we can do by bringing attention to our carbon footprint.