Our world environment and ecology are at tremendous risk! This article offers some easy, low-cost suggestions on how individuals and families can go green to do their part in counteracting global warming and its impact on our planet by reducing their carbon footprint.
The Website, carbonfootprint.com defines a Carbon Footprint as “a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.”
Living green is a phrase that either resonates with or completely irritates citizens in the United States. For me, this way of life was introduced long before anyone had coined the phrase, discovered global warming, or even really talked much about conservation. Of course, at 50, I’m pretty old!
I remember my mother reusing foil-taking it off of a pan that had been in the oven, wiping off the foil, folding it and stashing it away for another use. She is a pretty amazing person in many other ways, but I think living within one’s means, conserving what resources we have, and generally trying to make the world a better place are the most important lessons my mother taught me. Going green is about all these practices and more.
Composting and growing your own vegetables. For many years my husband maintained a vegetable garden in our back yard. We composted all non-protein food waste for use as fertilizer in the garden. We grew many of our own vegetables and ate what we grew all summer and into the fall and cut out meat almost completely. Families could even share in the work of maintaining a garden. Two or more neighbors could select one of their yards, and then plant, water, harvest, cook or can the produce.
Cut down on fuel usage and pollution. Our not purchasing so much food at the grocery store meant we didn’t contribute to the shipping costs, gasoline used and air pollution caused by trucking food to local stores. We also were needed to make fewer trips to the store. Making a simple change like reducing trips to the grocery store or the mall can have a huge impact on global warming.
Reuse and recycle. I still rinse out and reuse plastic zip-lock bags (as long as not uncooked meat or poultry was stored in them). We’re switching all the light bulbs in our house to the new compact fluorescent bulbs. Our locality offers free pickup of recyclable products, so we recycle everything possible. My husband cashes in aluminum cans and we also use mulch that is available free at the local landfill made from recycled wood products. Reusing and recycling can dramatically minimize your carbon footprint.
Adjust the thermostat. We have installed ceiling fans in many of our rooms. We keep our thermostat set higher in the summer time and use the fans to circulate the cool air more efficiently. We use a wood-stove insert to heat most of our home during the colder months, with the ceiling fans set to winter setting the heat is dispersed efficiently throughout the house. Using less electricity saves us money, but also allows us to counteract our carbon footprint.
There are many additional small and larger ways individuals and families can live greener lives. If every individual and every family did their share by going green as much as possible, our environment would be in much better shape. These suggestions are meant to be the beginning of what will hopefully become a habit of working to reduce your carbon footprint. Be creative and mindful as you and your family explore even more ways to go green.