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The trace of greenhouse gases produced by human activities is known as carbon footprint. This environmental indicator measures emissions of substances including methane (CH4), nitrogen oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and, above all, the most common and significant contributor to global warming: Carbon dioxide (CO2).

Personal Carbon Footprint:

Your personal carbon footprint is the trace you leave behind when you travel, consume, eat, and use resources such as energy. The majority of an individual’s carbon footprint is typically accounted for by transportation, housing, and food:

  • How many miles do you travel by vehicle, bus, train, or plane
  • Your home’s energy consumption
  • How much money do you spend on shopping
  • Your diet’s composition

Each time you drive, charge your phone, turn on the television, or operate the washing machine, you leave a trail of gases in your wake that builds in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.

Reduce Your Personal Carbon Footprint:

The Nature Conservancy says that we all need to reduce our carbon footprints to less than two tons per year by 2050. The experts say that this is the best way to ensure that temperatures stop rising.

Shutting off your computer when not in use would reduce the machine’s CO2 emissions 83%, to just 63 kg a year. Drying clothes on a line instead of using dryers reduces the CO2 created by your laundry up to 90%. Bringing your own reusable shopping bags also helps limit excessive amounts of plastic wrapping. These are all simple ways a person can reduce his carbon footprint. Below are ways you can create a meaningful impact to reduce yours.

1. Practice the 5 R’s of Zero Waste

REFUSE: Say no to single-use plastics and paper items in favor of reusables.

REDUCE: Minimize your purchases, focusing on what you truly need.

REUSE: Always try to keep an item out of the landfill by keeping it in good condition, repairing it, or upcycling it.

ROT: Create a compost system for food scraps or locate a food scrap drop-off location near your home (such as a farmers’ market or community garden).

RECYCLE: By understanding your state’s recycling rules, properly recycle any plastic, paper, glass, or metal that you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse.

2. Go Plastic-free

The production process of plastic is a leading cause of carbon emissions contributing to global warming. You can apply the 5 R’s of zero waste to reduce your plastic use and eventually become plastic-free.

3. Eat Less Meat, More Plant-based Diet

CO2 emissions (carbon footprint) generated by our personal activities are mostly determined by the type and quality of nourishment we consume. By substituting plant-based meals for beef, pork, chicken, or dairy products, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

4. Enhance the Energy and Water Efficiency of Your Home

Consider investing in energy efficiency or a renewable energy system, which can result in long-term energy and financial savings. Changes made at home can definitely help the environment in dealing with climate change. Among your alternatives are the following:

  • Solar panel installation
  • Geothermal energy solutions can be integrated into your home’s heating system.
  • Using more durable and higher-quality materials, such as decking made from recycled plastic and wood fibers.
  • Look for the Energy Star symbol when buying new products

5. Drive Less. Fly Less.

Individuals can minimize greenhouse gas emissions by using greener modes of transportation, ranging from walking, biking, carpooling, using mass transit, or driving a best-in-class vehicle. 

Aviation contributes approximately 2.5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. You can reduce a bigger portion of your own carbon footprint if you choose to fly less.

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