Our planet is changing rapidly. From extended wildfire seasons to rising sea levels, many wonder if it’s possible to stop climate change. The truth is, our negative impacts have already committed our planet to decades more of catastrophic change. However, the good news is that we can mitigate further damage the best we can. Millions of people are taking action and there are plenty of simple things you can do right now to make a difference. Here are 10 things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and help fight climate change.
1. Reduce Food Waste
The United States tosses 40% of its food away every year, amounting to $162 billion in waste annually. To limit the amount of food you waste, try planning ahead prior to your shopping trip and buying only the items on your grocery list. Doing things like planning your meals, keeping a grocery list, and checking your kitchen for things you have and don’t have, will make you less likely to buy foods you don’t need.
When you have food scraps, try composting them in your garden or if you don’t have a garden, they can also be used to fertilize your lawn, trees, bushes, flowers, and houseplants. Potato peels, citrus rinds, eggshells, bread, and just about any non-meat food residues can be used to compost. Our office composts food scraps, textiles, and other compostable items with Black Earth Compost. Black Earth is a local company out of Gloucester, Massachusetts that does weekly, biweekly, or monthly trash pickups, processes it into nutrient-rich compost and returns it to the community. There, it will re-enter the growth cycle in your garden or at a local farm, creating zero-waste.
2. Eat More Plant-based Foods
Limiting your meat and dairy intake often has a positive impact on both you and the environment. Eating more fruits, veggies, and whole grains will not only help reduce the demand for meat and dairy products, but you’ll also feel stronger, healthier, and more energetic while reducing your risk for chronic diseases. Follow Meatless Monday and Eating Well to get delicious recipes, tips, and meatless food challenges.
3. Grow a Garden
Studies show that gardening is a healthy lifestyle that can help with relaxation and stress relief, as well as weight control by adding healthy food choices. Growing your own garden at home provides you fresh, organic, pesticide-free produce and herbs to add flavor to any dish. Self-supplying many of your own veggies reduces the demand for non-local produce usually found in grocery stores. Environmentalists have coined the term “farm-to-table” in response to a larger discussion about “food miles.” Farm-to-table is championed in the locavore and environmental movement; Reducing the distance between where your food comes from to where your home is located is essential for food sustainability.
Try adding fragrant flowers to border your garden, this will deter pests from tasty snacks. It’s not too late. You can also have a wildflower garden to attract pollinators, like monarch butterflies, that are crucial to our ecosystems.
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Recycling usually comes to mind when thinking about environmental conservation. Recycling helps prevent pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by preventing additional materials from being manufactured, save energy, and reduce the amount of waste in landfills.
However, before recycling comes waste reduction and material reuse. Avoid disposable or single-use items. Using reusable bags, mugs, dinnerware, and more reduce the amount of waste in landfills. When an item cannot be reused any longer, recycle it if possible. Reusing products can also be as simple as getting a couple of extra uses out of a bath towel before washing it.
In Massachusetts, items such as metal food trays and cans, plastic bottles and jugs, glass bottles and jars, and paper and cardboard can be recycled. Check out Recycle Smart for more on what you can and can’t recycle in Massachusetts.
5. Insulate Your Attic and Walls Early
Having proper sealing and insulation is important and prevents unwanted heat from entering or escaping your home. It also helps keep heat in in the winter and cool air in during the summer. Making sure your home is properly sealed and insulated well will also save you money and results in an average savings of 15% on heating and cooling costs. Don’t wait for the summer heat or winter chill to properly insulate your home. Contact a local home energy expert through HomeWorks Energy at no cost for insulation tips, discounts, and more.
6. Shop Local and Buy From Green Brands
Try shopping at your local stores and buying green products or items that have a low environmental impact. There are benefits that come with shopping at your local markets versus giant grocery stores – one being that less packaging is often involved. Many local markets offer produce directly from local farmers that were freshly harvested during that week. Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint by shopping local, but you’re also supporting and helping local businesses.
7. Rethink Your Transportation Methods
Millions of Americans drive a vehicle alone to work everyday. Your transportation has a big impact on the environment, so rethinking how you get around helps lower your carbon footprint significantly.
To benefit the environment and your wallet, try carpooling, walking, or biking when possible.. If you live in a city, taking public transportation helps, too. If you wish to drive, try driving an electric vehicle or hybrid car. Paired with solar, EVs are practically net-zero in terms of fuel use. Check out the Sierra Club’s Electric Vehicle Guide for buying a personal vehicle.
8. Use Energy Efficient Appliances
There’s a wide range of energy-efficient household products and technologies that will not only reduce your electricity usage and environmental impact but also save you money. Something as small as a lightbulb can have a tremendous impact on your home. Energy-efficient light fixtures, like halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), use up to 90% less energy than conventional bulbs and last longer, too. When you utilize energy-efficient appliances or power your home with solar energy, you’re reducing the need for fossil fuels. This decreases water pollution, environmental degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions, benefitting the health of the planet and society as a whole. Make sure to also reduce ghost electricity in your home.
9. Be Vocal
Don’t be afraid to speak your voice. Climate change is on the rise, but there are some direct actions you can take to help protect our environment for future generations. Call your local state rep or senator about the environment. Contacting your local government to express your concerns will help so they can fund more programs to help the environment. Voting, and telling your friends about climate science can also make a big impact.
10. Go Solar
Installing solar panels is another great way to cut down on your home’s carbon footprint and energy usage. Plus, solar panels will allow you to produce your own energy that’s fossil fuel-free. This clean power is healthier for you and the environment and will reduce expenses on your electric bill. If you live in Massachusetts, you’re in luck. Massachusetts homeowners typically see a quicker return on investment, helping Massachusetts be one of the best states to go solar. Click here to get started with going solar.
Make A Difference By Being Greener
It’s not too late, make a difference today and put these ideas into action. By doing so, you’re helping others, yourself, and the environment. Plus, you’ll be saving money while helping the environment for future generations. When you utilize these tips, take a photo and let us know by tagging Solaris Renewables Massachusetts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
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