All in the last week, a tornado hit New Jersey, Louisiana lost power due to a hurricane during a heat wave, and California is on fire (again). I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds pretty scary. It seems like devastating natural disasters are becoming expected in today’s world, but that shouldn’t be the case! We all have a role to play in the fight against climate change, and it starts with reducing our carbon footprint.
While it can be easy to blame big corporations and governments for our changing climate (which isn’t technically wrong) the average American certainly does not escape blame when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. According to a study by the University of Michigan, the average American household has a carbon footprint of around 53 tons of CO2 per year (that’s a lot, much higher than the global average). Reducing this number is a crucial step toward mitigating your personal contribution to climate change. In this post, we’ll cover 5 easy tips that will help you love the planet you walk on by reducing your carbon footprint.
1. Insulate your Home
Air conditioning and heating make up the largest percentage of energy used in most households by far. If your home is properly insulated, it will take less energy to keep it warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. Bad insulation means the heat or cool air that you’re paying for is escaping through your walls, requiring your system to work even harder! Also, bonus tip: only run your A/C when you absolutely need to. It can be shocking how much energy it takes to keep the air conditioning on all the time, so do the planet and your wallet a favor and avoid using it if you can!
2. Fly Direct or Offset your Travel Carbon Emissions
One of the largest carbon expenses of the average American is actually air travel. Airplanes produce around 53 pounds of carbon per mile! If you travel often, eliminating the number of stops on your trip will significantly reduce your carbon footprint. If you can’t fly direct, many airlines now allow you to make a donation on top of your ticket price which will fund organizations that offset carbon emissions by restoring forests or making transportation more environmentally friendly.
3. Buy Locally Sourced Food, Eat a Sustainable Diet
Producing meat and dairy products takes a massive amount of energy when compared to plant based foods. While we don’t necessarily expect you to cut out meat all together, it would benefit your carbon footprint to avoid it when you can. Red meat is especially taxing on the environment, and it’s pretty bad for you too! Also, even if you don’t fly on a plane, your food probably does, so buy locally sourced produce when you can.
4. Turn your Lights Off
This one seems obvious, but we all forget to do it every once in a while. If a light is on in a room you aren’t in, you’re wasting energy, and that contributes to your carbon emissions. Turn off lights and unplug unnecessary appliances/devices, and your carbon footprint will be noticeably smaller.
5. Invest in a Pair of Eco-Friendly Shoes!
Ok, shameless self plug, but owning a pair of Pontos is the perfect quick and easy way to turn your shoe game into a carbon neutral fashion statement. The fashion industry is responsible for an alarming portion of global carbon emissions- about 10%. That’s more carbon than all international flights and maritime shipping produces annually! At Ponto, we’re on a mission to change that. We are proud to have partnered with Flexport to minimize all shipping related carbon emissions, and offset what we can’t avoid. When purchasing a pair of Pontos, you can rest assured that the effect on your carbon footprint will be minimal, something that cannot be said for most of your fashion purchases. Our shipping process is truly carbon neutral, and we try our best to mitigate emissions during production by using sustainable materials and practices. We urge you to be conscious of how much carbon is being put into the air when you purchase any product, and try to buy from retailers that are working towards carbon neutrality, but in the meantime, we know a good place to start!