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We've heard that lowering our carbon footprint can support an eco-friendly lifestyle. But what exactly does it mean to reduce your carbon footprint? Well, your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly or indirectly support human activities. The lower the amount of carbon in our air, the healthier we and our planet will be. It sounds big, but we can start small. Here are 5 simple things you can start doing today to reduce your carbon footprint:
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Consider how much we default to driving when we don’t have to. Carpools and rideshares, public transportation, biking and walking are all great ways to connect with other people, use your tax dollars or get some exercise while minimizing your environmental impact. If you must drive, make sure you use clean gasoline and keep your tires properly inflated. Both these measures will limit your carbon footprint from driving, and increase your gas mileage, saving you money at the same time.
Green Your Home
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Start with simple steps like changing incandescent light bulbs to LED and turning the lights off in a room when you leave it. A low-flow showerhead can save reduce hot water consumption and save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. If you want to go a little further, invest in a home energy audit. An energy auditor will assess your home from top to bottom, looking at windows, walls, insulation, water heaters and more, and will give you recommendations on things small and large you can do to make your home more energy-efficient.
Eat Local and Low
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Transporting foods - either by truck, rail, air or ship - uses fossil fuels to not just move the food, but in the refrigeration of that food in transportation vehicles. Eating local minimizes transport costs, and ensures your food is fresh every time. Additionally, eating foods low on the food chain - fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, etc. - will help reduce your carbon footprint, since animal agriculture accounts for 14.5 percent of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions.
Hang Dry Your Clothes
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Your clothes dryer uses five times more electricity than your washer, making it one of the largest environmental culprits in your home. If you have space, line-drying your clothes can reduce your carbon footprint by a third. Even if you don’t have room for a long line, you can use a shorter line, a drying rack or even your furniture. Wash the clothes in cold water before line-drying for an extra boost of eco-friendliness.
Unplug Your Devices
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Unplugging is a small, simple step you can do every day all over your home. All electronics suck electricity just by being plugged in, even if they’re powered down. This “vampire power” costs the United States alone $19 billion in energy each year. So when your devices aren’t charging (or you’re not using your toaster or coffee maker), unplug the chargers and small appliances until you’re ready to use them again.
Adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle does not have to mean a whole-life overhaul. Small changes can make a big difference. Tell us in the comments below or on social media what are small changes you'll adopt to make a difference.
With love and compassion,