Is your family concerned about the threat of climate change? You should be. It threatens our very existence.
If you want to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle, then you will need to confront a harsh reality – your carbon footprint is probably a lot higher than you think. This means that you will need to make some significant changes to protect the environment.
My friend John, the editor of The Holistic Millennial, has researched and shared insights from some trends, as well as tips for families trying to lower their carbon footprint. Some of his findings are listed below.
Your Household Probably Needs to Do a Lot More to Fight Climate Change
The existential threat that climate change poses cannot be overstated. Fortunately, a growing number of Americans are starting to take it seriously.
A 2015 study by Pew Research showed that 66% of Americans want to take steps towards more environmentally friendly lifestyles. A more recent survey showed that 70% of households consider themselves to be eco-friendly.
The bad news is that their stated desire to lower their environmental impact doesn’t seem to match up with their actions. The average individual has a carbon footprint of 16 tons. This makes America one of the worst offenders against our planet on a per capita basis. The average American produces around three times as much carbon as the global average.
How is the average household’s carbon footprint changing as environmentalism becomes more of a priority? We have moved in the right direction in some ways, while increasing our carbon footprint in others. On a positive note, the average household decreased home energy used by 50% between 1993 and 2009. Part of this trend could be caused by the shift towards urbanization, but some of the change could be attributed to the growing use of more efficient EnergyStar heating and cooling products.
On the other hand, the average household used almost 50% more energy to power home appliances in the same timeframe. This is probably due to households using more unnecessary appliances to make their lives more convenient.
The harsh reality is that the average family is not doing enough to lower their carbon footprint. We need to collectively change our lifestyle to lower our energy use.
How Can Your Family Lower Its Carbon Footprint?
There are plenty of ways that you can cut your family’s carbon footprint. Some proven tips are listed below.
Eat more poultry, fish and plant foods
Your family might not want to live by a vegan diet. However, a less meat-centric diet can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Meat is responsible for almost 15% of all carbon emissions. You can probably get your spouse and kids on board if you find the right meals.
You don’t have to give meat up entirely, but it is a good idea to cut back on it. You should also shift towards eating more fish and poultry. These types of meat don’t have as much of a carbon footprint as beef, pork and mutton.
Recycling is obviously important for preserving our natural resources. However, most families don’t realize that it also plays an important role in reducing their carbon footprint. Landfills require a lot of energy to operate. They use a lot more energy than recycling plants.
You should make it a priority to recycle as much of your waste as possible. Find out what materials can be recycled and always separate them.
There is really no reason to get documents from your bank or other institutions in the mail. You should try to get digital documents instead. Paper requires a lot of energy to process and the mail service transportation system is certainly not green either.
Avoid buying the latest fashion fads
Many people insist on buying the latest fads. They are unwittingly leaving a huge carbon footprint in their wake. Instead, you should wear your clothes until they are starting to fade or deteriorate.
Try to buy items that don’t have as much packaging. Companies often use bulkier packaging to trick consumers into thinking that they are getting more value, when in actuality they are just leaving a larger carbon footprint instead.
Identify energy sinks in your home
There might be a number of places in your home causing energy loss. The biggest sources of energy loss come from your heating and cooling systems, since cracks, drafts and other inefficiencies can cause energy consumption to skyrocket.
However, there may be more subtle sources of energy waste that warrant investigation. Your Internet router might be working harder than it needs to if you are keeping it far away from your computers. This change might not seem significant, but it is a small thing that you can do to cut your carbon footprint.
Lower your thermostat when you are away
There is no reason to keep your thermostat cranked up when you are at work or away for the weekend. You should set it just high enough to keep your pipes from freezing. You can program it to increase the temperature an hour or two before you get home, so your heating system has enough time to work to keep the temperature comfortable by the time you arrive.