Especially during a pandemic, you realize that you aren’t alone. Your everyday choices could potentially affect the life and health of many others. And while none of us have the ability to set an immediate end to the pandemic, we all have a responsibility to slow the spread and protect the weakest among us.
As the coronavirus pandemic spread around the globe, it also had a profound impact on the environment.
According to the National Geographic, with shutdowns in place all over the world, the daily global carbon emissions in early April were down by 17 percent compared to last year.
And while this temporary experience of cleaner air due to the widespread shutdowns has been an unexpected upside of the pandemic, scientists expect this decline in emissions only to be temporary and to last until people return back to their daily lives.
Climate change has severe consequences for all of us. In particular in the fight against global warming it is important that everyone is committed to making changes.
Every single one of us has a responsibility to be informed and to take initiative when it comes to saving our planet. The first thing everyone should do is to figure out what changes they can make in their day-to-day life, to lessen their own impact on the environment.
Here are three simple steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Be environmentally conscious with your purchases
In the business world stakeholders set the tone. When we go grocery shopping, we can start to reduce our carbon footprint. Try to be aware of where your products come from. Check the product’s label for whether it was locally and sustainably produced.
Make sure that the fruits and vegetables you are buying are in season. When it comes to meat, try and reduce your intake. Red meat production has a negative impact on the environment. The production of red meat uses a lot of feed, water and land and is therefore in particular harmful for our environment. According to a study published in 2017 in the Journal of Environmental Research Letters “red meat can have up to 100 times the environmental impact of plant-based food.”
2. Reduce your waste
Pet plastic, the material water bottles are made from, makes up more than 10.2 percent of the global plastic production. It takes around 3 Liters of water to make a single bottle of water and plastic can take up to 500 years to bio-degrade in the ocean.
An easy way to avoid using plastics is by using reusable water bottles, grocery bags, buy fruits and vegetables that are not wrapped in plastic and give shampoo bars a try.
Also when purchasing clothing, avoid fast fashion. According to the Columbia Earth Institute the average American discards around 80 pounds of clothing each year, 85 percent of which will end up in landfills. To make matters worse, most of the fast fashion comes from China and therefore the transport to the US requires fossil fuels.
3. Check your energy at home
One of the most efficient ways to save energy and money is by turning your water heater down to 120° Fahrenheit. This has potential to cut down your CO2 emissions by 550 pounds a year.
Another way to save energy is by changing out incandescent light bulbs around your home. Even Though LEDs might be on the pricier side, they last up to 25 times longer and use a quarter of the energy.
Try to use your air conditioner only when really necessary and remember to turn off all lights and electricity when you leave the house.
These all might sound like very basic steps but if taken by many, they have the potential to make a great impact. Simple steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint