How to Reduce my Carbon Footprint

Image of a foot representing all the things that go into calculating our carbon footprint

Image credit to NK Realtors 

As climate change continues and the environment is impacted more and more every day by human activity, it is essential to know about our carbon footprint and reduce it. Major countries and cities have carbon footprints, but so do people. So, how can you begin to make a change starting with yourself and reduce your footprint?

What is a carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint is a measure of the total amount of greenhouse gases generated from human activity. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. 

Think about it as an actual footprint: it leaves a mark on the ground when you walk. With a carbon footprint, when you use a wasteful product or contribute to gas emissions, it impacts nature.

The way a carbon footprint is measured is the total amount of greenhouse gasses emitted from certain activities. It is expressed as a measure of weight, as in tons of carbon dioxide.


Where is the problem coming from?

The primary source of these significant greenhouse gas emissions comes from fossil fuel usage, deforestation, and waste generation. On an individual level, transportation and household energy use are the main factors towards a footprint.

There are also many small ways each person contributes to these emissions that we often oversee. This includes meat consumption, using automobiles, and single-use plastics.


Measuring your footprint:

If you’re interested in how you could be contributing to this issue, there is a way to calculate your carbon footprint using this link:

The global average carbon footprint for each person is 4 tons. Here in the United States, the average is 16 tons.

According to the Nature Conservancy, to reduce the 2℃ rise in global temperatures, the average global carbon footprint per year needs to drop under 2 tons by 2050.

This is not something that can happen overnight. Every person needs to make their contribution towards this cause and help save nature from its dark future.


How can I help?

Reducing your carbon footprint can be a difficult task. Completely changing your life overnight to go plastic-free or vegan can seem impossible. That is why you should start with simple alternatives that reduce your everyday impact on the environment.

Here is a list of easy tasks you can begin to reduce your footprint:

  1. Buy local, seasonal, and organic food products
  2. Cut red meat out of your diet
  3. Bike or walk to your destinations instead of driving
  4. Wash your clothes with cold water
  5. Hang dry your clothes rather than putting them in a dryer
  6. Start a compost to keep stuff out of landfills
  7. Turn off lights and unplug devices when they’re not being used
  8. Upcycle your products
  9. Thrift clothing instead of purchasing from large companies
  10. Bring reusable bags when grocery shopping


Written by Dan Macura