Do you know how much your daily life impacts the climate? The answer might surprise you.
The average US citizen has a carbon footprint of around 36,000 pounds a year – one of the highest figures in the world.
And although we’ve made great strides to address pollution, encourage recycling, reduce consumption, and use cleaner energy – there’s still a significant challenge lying ahead of us.
While the fight against global warming requires cooperation between nations, governments, and large corporations – many of the biggest changes come down to our choices as individuals.
So why is there so much talk about reducing carbon footprints? Let’s take a closer look.
It Helps to Reverse Global Warming
The most significant challenge of our time, global warming impacts virtually every area of our lives. With increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and many other dangers, climate change is a problem that requires each of us to re-think the way we live, work, and move.
Thankfully, we can all make changes to our daily lives that benefit the environment:
- Reduce your energy consumption by insulating your home, installing energy-efficient lighting, lowering your thermostat in the winter, and turning off unused appliances.
- Install solar panels on your roof and generate your own renewable energy.
- Purchase Renewable Energy Certificates to support clean electricity generation.
- Recycle your waste to avoid items being sent to landfill while reducing the demand for oil and gas.
- Take shorter showers to save energy and water.
- Use public transport instead of driving, and where possible, try to walk or cycle.
- Buy carbon offsets to balance out your monthly or annual carbon emissions.
It’s important to remember that once you make changes to your lifestyle, they can become long-term habits. With the knowledge, technology, and services we have today, it’s already possible for each of us to live carbon-neutral lives.
It’s Better for Your Health
The effects of climate change extend far beyond warmer weather. With growing levels of carbon dioxide, methane, and other pollutants in the atmosphere, global warming directly impacts the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Combined with other health dangers such as COVID-19, air pollution from sources like vehicle exhaust and power generation are placing increasing burdens on our healthcare system – and putting lives at risk.
The good news is that changes to our behavior can have an immediate impact. During the peak of the Coronavirus lockdown under business and travel restrictions, cities such as Los Angeles experienced clear, pollution-free skies for the first time in recent memory.
“We’re seeing in some places the best air quality in decades.” – Bill Magavern, Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air
The silver lining of events such as COVID-19 is that they give us a glimpse of a cleaner world. If we work to reduce car travel, transition to electric vehicles, use more public transport, and invest in renewable energy – the improvements to our environment benefit all of us.
It Can Save You A lot of Money
Global warming presents many environmental dangers, but as individuals, we pay the costs of climate change out of our own pockets.
With more frequent extreme weather events such as heatwaves, wildfires, and severe storms – combined with factors such as growing mosquito populations – the extra costs to our healthcare and emergency systems are already in the billions. On a global scale, it’s estimated that climate change could cost the world economy up to a staggering $10 trillion.
So how do we avoid these skyrocketing costs? Simple – by reducing our emissions.
When we lower our individual carbon footprints – by reducing our consumption, using clean energy, or offsetting our emissions, we’re investing in our long-term financial security.
Thanks to the falling cost of renewable energy – which is already cheaper than fossil fuels in many parts of the world – it’s now within our reach to power our homes, businesses, and transport systems from zero-carbon sources. And while not all of us can make immediate changes, we can also support clean electricity to mitigate our personal impact.
It’s Good for Animals and Plants
Actions that improve the health of our planet don’t just benefit us – but the entire ecosystem. And many animals and plants are already feeling the effects of global warming far more than we realize.
“Climate change is quickly becoming the biggest threat to the long-term survival of America’s wildlife.” – National Wildlife Federation
With rising temperatures and more extreme weather events, animals are living in habitats that are changing faster than they can adapt.
With so many of our health and economic systems tied directly to the environment, our positive actions improve all life on earth. By making smarter use of our natural resources, we can work with nature and enhance the well-being of every animal, plant, and ecosystem on the planet.
How Can You Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
Global warming is a problem that affects everyone – and it needs all of us to work together to turn things around.
Thankfully, there are many simple things you can do that directly benefit the climate.
You can work to reduce your energy consumption, recycle your waste, install solar panels, buy clean energy from your power retailer, and consider buying carbon offsets to minimize – or even eliminate – your environmental footprint.
We’ve made incredible progress in recent years, and although we face a global problem, we’re on a path to creating a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable world.
And when each of us contributes to the solution, we all get to enjoy the benefits.