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Recommendations About What We Can Do to Reduce Carbon Footprint

written by: Jayant R Row•edited by: BStone•updated: 6/29/2010

What can we all do as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint? Essentially, finding ways to simplify our living habits and making efforts to be aware of our own personal impact can make a great difference for the well-being of the environment.

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    Living Simply Can Help the Environment

    800px-Carbon footprint representation  Each human being has a carbon footprint — the representative marking of what we all leave on the environment through consumption. It is the measure of what impact our actions have on the planet’s health. The basic fact is that every time we consume something, buy something, or travel in our modern day vehicles we are adding to the carbon footprint we leave behind for the planet to absorb and manage. What can we do to reduce our own personal negative effect?

    The obvious way of reducing this impact that we have would be to simplify our lives and do with less. Eat as much as is necessary to maintain good health and the right weight. Buy things that you really need for your daily life and are not just possessions that you store. Walk when you can and distances are manageable. Use public transport and not your car. Exchange your gas guzzler with a vehicle that is more fuel efficient. Take steps to improve the environment yourself, such as planting trees, which will absorb carbon dioxide. And whenever possible, recycle products to extend their use and value and to reduce the production of new materials.

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    Find Ways to Reduce Waste

    Every thing that we buy or use has to be manufactured. The manufacturing process of the product, the packaging, and the transportation of the product contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. What can we do to reduce the carbon footprint left by these factories. Buy only what you need, and question items that are completely unnecessary. When making purchases, look for more eco-friendly options such as recycled paper, organic textiles, and biodegradable children's toys. Reduce waste wherever you can, whether it is at home or in the office. Think before you switch on that light, get more copies of a document or even buy a lunch box. Can you do without it? If the answer is yes; act. If you do need it, how can you make a more sustainable purchase choice?

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    Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

    When you walk into a store to buy yourself a new shirt have you thought about what you will do with the old one? Why not find that place where you can drop your old shirt to be recycled before you go to buy the new one. Follow the same process when ever you make a new purchase. Recycle your electronic goods, your old newspapers and almost anything that still has a useful life. Make a compost pile for food scraps and used coffee grounds. Contact community groups who may be interested in used materials for art projects. If things are put into use again they can reduce the requirement for the creation of new materials, the use of more resources, and the emission of more greenhouse gases.

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    Ideas for the Individual

    What can we do to reduce our carbon footprint? Try any of these ideas. Integrate them into your regular routine. If we all made these small changes the positive global impact would be enormous.

    • Plant a tree. It will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.
    • Buy food that is produced locally.
    • Walk to the drugstore or supermarket. The exercise and fresh air is good for your health as well.
    • Look into using renewable energy to heat your home or power it. Solar energy devices are becoming easier to work and more efficient as technology improves.
    • Telecommute if your job allows you to, even for only two days a week.
    • Prepare food rather than purchasing processed, heavily-packaged food items.
    • Switch off electrical devices when not in use.
    • Try and harvest rainwater for use in your garden.
    • Keep the plumbing in good shape and stop those drips.

    Awareness of environmental issues has led to a concerted action by governments and industries to take steps to reduce global warming. It is also the responsibility of each of us to learn about our own impact and to actively find ways to live more efficiently.

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    References

    Image Source: Wikipedia: Carbon footprint