FEB 21, 2017 09:20 AM PST

Easy steps to reduce your carbon footprint

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Climate change is often such a big issue that it becomes overwhelming to think about what you as an individual person can do to help. But doing your part DOES help, so here are some easy tips that you can incorporate into your daily life in order to reduce your carbon footprint.

1. By turning your thermostat up in the summer or down in the winter by only two degrees you can make a huge difference in the amount of carbon dioxide you personally are releasing into the atmosphere. By closing doors to rooms you're not using and insulating the windows and walls of your house, you can save even more heating and cooling costs.
2. Turn off and unplug your electronics (phone, computer, TV, microwave, etc.) when they're not in use. Even when they are in sleep mode, electronics still use energy and leaving something plugged in similarly draws energy.
3. Only use the washing machine or run the dishwater when you have a full load in order to save water and electricity.
4. Eat local as much as possible. Although bananas are a delicious source of potassium, think hard about whether that banana grew within 100 kilometers of you. Most likely much of your food had to arrive to you in a container ship, using many tons of fossil fuels just in transportation. You can find more responsible local options at a farmer's market near you. (Remember to bring your own bags and avoid the plastic!)
5. Stop buying plastic bottles! Bring your own reusable bottle filled with perfectly delicious and safe tap water! Do the same for your coffee take out - bring your own mug to avoid throwing out the one-time use cups.
6. Plan and consolidate your errands to lower your gas consumption, and carpool with your neighbors or friends nearby to make an even bigger impact in your community's carbon footprint! You can also walk or bike instead of driving and get double the benefit for some healthy exercise.
7. Plant a tree, and give back to the earth's lungs who allow you to breathe!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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