Simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint

It’s hard to avoid the buzz all over the place these days about reducing your carbon footprint. Once you quantify your carbon footprint using one of the calculators available on the web, you can buy carbon offsets to “neutralize” your impact. The money gets invested in renewable energy technologies, planting trees or other initiatives designed to reduce the overall carbon emissions impact to the planet. There are good and bad (legit and questionable) ways to do this and still have a real impact. We won’t get into the challenges here.

You can have a more direct, real impact on reducing your carbon footprint by implementing simple changes to your daily life that can really add up. When we all start embracing these simple changes to our
lifestyles, the cumulative effect can be significant. Here are just a few (there are many more):

  • Use those reusable bags for your groceries (usually available in a variety of funky shades of green), instead of plastic grocery bags
  • Buy stuff with less packaging, and packaging that is reusable or recyclable
  • Buy in bulk if possible
  • Buy stuff produced locally or within short transportation distances whenever possible
  • Plant a garden, trees and grow some vegetables and herbs right in your own yard
  • Minimize watering and fertilizing by careful selection of plants and trees for your soil and climate type
  • Try replacing your lawn with a native groundcover
  • Plan your route to do your daily errands most efficiently if driving
  • Be conscious of how much time you spend in the shower
  • Don’t just leave the water running while you’re brushing your teeth
  • Reuse towels at home at least 2-3 times, not just in hotel rooms
  • Air dry your clothes outside on warm, sunny days
  • Replace some of your incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or LED lights
  • Think twice about how often you feel you need to replace your car, electronics and household items
  • And my favourite— work from home at least one day a week!

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