5 ways to reduce your carbon footprint
First - understand how you fit into the global picture of greenhouse gas emission reduction.
- Canada is in the top three for emissions per person. In 2012, we produced about 20.6 tonnes of greenhouse gases per capita compared to a global average of 6.2 tonnes. Even though we make up a small percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions as a country due to our relatively small population, our individual contribution to the problem is significant.
- The goal for all global citizens is 1.7 tonnes per capita of green house gas emissions by the year 2050, according to a UN research group.
Help close the gap. While our governments hammer out ways to help Canadians reduce greenhouse gases, we can all work towards transforming into low-carbon emitters.
5 ways to to reduce your carbon emissions from wonderful people and organizations who all want to help.
Please share yours.
1. Reduce the fuel you consume in transport.
- Consider taking public transport more often, or look into purchasing an electric or hybrid car as your next vehicle.
- February 1 to 7 is Carpool Week, led by Metrolinx's Smart Commute program. Carpooling can save you money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.
2. Change your lightbulbs to LEDs.
- Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are a semi-conductor light source that have an environmental advantage over compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), halogen incandescents, and more traditional incandescent light bulbs (not manufactured anymore) according to US sources, energy.gov4and Design Recycle Inc.3 And while they may cost a bit more up front, they last longer and have very low energy use.
- Why are these energy saving?5 The old traditional bulbs gave up 90% of their energy off as heat. LEDS (if properly certified) use 1 quarter of the energy of old traditional bulbs, and last 25 times longer. In comparison to halogen incandescents, LEDS use only 25 to 30% of the energy, and last between 8-25 times longer. Both sources claim LEDs are also more energy efficient than CFLs, and according to Design Recycle, LEDs do not contain hazardous mercury. For a good overview, scroll down the energy.gov page to "New Lightbulbs: What's the difference?"
3. Reduce your garbage.
- Buy secondhand. Consider second hand clothing. Bring your own bags to the grocery store.
- Reduce your consumption of products with excess packaging and plastic. Consider buying more bulk and reusing containers. For example - eliminate buying water in plastic bottles and use filtered tap water.
- Don't use straws, and bring your own reusable travel cups as billions of "disposable" cups are thrown away each year.
- Lauren Singer " I haven't Made Any Trash In 2 Years. Here's What My Life Is Like "
- Bea Johnson's tips. She lives waste-free and stylishly with her family since 2008 and is the author of Zero Waste Home. Her guideline is Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (compost).
4. Plant a tree or help restore a wetland.Clearance of land including trees and wetlands have contributed to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Trees help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by using it during the photosynthesis process that also releases oxygen as a by-product. Trees at about 10 years age, are estimated to soak up about 48 pounds of CO2 per year.2
- Wetland soils also act as carbon sinks. According to a 2009 nature reports, wetlands globally store between 300 and 700 billion tons of carbon. Most are held in peatlands - but all wetland types serve a variety of amazing purposes from providing habitat to native creatures to acting as a type of water filter.
- Celebrate World Wetlands Day and Georgian Bay's wetlands! It just happened on February 2
- Research where you can plant a tree, or plant a native tree on your property. My family planted trees in the Rouge Valley, part of the 10,000 trees for the Rouge Campaign. The 2016 date is Sunday April 24th.
- Help Georgian Bay Wetlands! Georgian Bay Forever has been focusing on eradicating invasive plant Phragmites from Georgian Bay coastal wetlands, where it threatens biodiversity and impairs the proper functioning of the wetlands. Last year we helped 16 communities remove about 8000 kilograms of this nasty plant. This year we want to double that. Be part of the movement by finding our about phragbusting. You can help restore coastal wetlands.
Plant a tree with your family! My family did the 10,000 trees Rouge Valley Project
Eat for human and planetary health
(Update Jan 2019). Donna Mitchell writes a blog post: choosing to eat more plants and less meat, and to waste less food, is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint while also improving personal health.Click here to read the article.