Cutting Carbon: Tips for Curbing your Greenhouse Gas Output
For Millennials and Gen Z, there seems to be no bigger talking point than tackling climate change, and for good reasons. With global temperatures set to rise between 1.8° to 4° degrees celsius (4°!) over the 21st century, these two generations are looking at a future of rising sea levels, stronger severe weather events, droughts, more wildfires, climate refugees, and major biodiversity loss. So what are some things we can do right now to fight climate change? Make no mistake, we do still need to push for government and corporate changes if we are to avoid the worst effects of global warming, but there are also plenty of actionable things we can work on right now to fight for our future, so let’s dive right in to curbing your greenhouse gasses.
Know the Problem
The first step in solving any problem is to be aware of it, and so the first task in tackling your carbon output is knowing just how much carbon you are creating. Luckily there are multiple ways you can do that these days. The app Leafully will give you easy to understand breakdowns of your domestic energy use. Other apps, like Oroeco and Joulebug, turn going green into a game, transforming our societal competitiveness and love of skinner box type video games into a motifying force for good in the world. The best part of these apps is that these eco tips and tracking will not only help the planet, but the tips and suggestions will also help you save money along the way. If all that is still a little too much, no worries, because you can always simply go online to websites like nature.org and fill out their carbon calculator. While none of these options are perfect, there are plenty to choose from so you can have an actual estimate of what your impact is and a tangible goal to reach.
Carbon Cutting Tips
- Cut down on your airline travel. Did you know that air travel is disproportionately more problematic than car travel? The issue is that take off requires a massive amount of energy, and right now nothing else comes close to jet fuel. So while we wait for a biofuel to be developed that can be used for airplanes, take less leisure trips, fly on one direct flight instead of layover flights, schedule business meetings online, and try and drive or take trains whenever possible.
- Buy carbon offsets. Companies like Terrapass and NativeEnergy offer plans for carbon offsetting for both individuals and businesses, so for all the carbon you generate in your life, you’ll be planting trees, supporting renewable energy products, and other such initiatives so your net impact will be zero or negative.
- Switch to renewable suppliers with one click. In certain states, companies like Green Mountain Energy, and CleanChoice Energy will switch your electric bill so that your utility money goes directly to supporting renewable energy sources.
- Meatless Mondays. Did you know that if everyone in America switched just one chicken meal to a plant-based meal each week it’d save more carbon in a year than driving 500,000 less cars would? We all know that eating less meat is better for the environment, but few appreciate just how massive a difference it makes.
- Switch to slow fashion. While many are now aware of fast fashion’s massive waste generation and toxic chemical laden production, fast fashion is also a major contributor to CO2 production with its large supply chains, transportation, intensive and unsustainable growing process, plastic clothing, clothing releasing methane as it decomposes, etc. Brands that rent clothing like Rent the Runway, upcycling brands like Rust & Fray, and sustainable producers like Everlane will all cut back on this.
- Reduce your food waste. America wastes a massive 33% of all the food it grows, and in addition to the moral outrage that should cause, all that rotting food in landfills add methane to the atmosphere. Composting, shopping for one or two days worth of food at a time, buying ugly produce, and shopping farmers market food helps prevent that food waste.
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