Reducing Carbon Footprint
If you arm yourself with correct information, you can make informed choices that will affect your community and the planet at large.
1. Reducing energy consumption at home
• Changing your five most-used light fixtures or bulbs to products that have the EPA's Energy Star label;
• Heat and cool more efficiently, such as by using a programmable thermostat, changing air filters and replacing old equipment with Energy Star products;
• Seal and insulate your home;
• Make use of recycling programs,
• Compost food and yard waste;
• Reduce water waste;
• Use green power, such as solar panels;
2. Reducing energy consumption at the office
• Set computers and other office equipment to power down during periods when you're not using them;
• Use Energy Star equipment;
• Recycle and reuse whenever possible;
3. Reducing energy consumption and emissions in transportation
• Rely on public transportation, biking, walking, carpooling or telecommuting instead of driving;
• Use video conferencing to reduce air travel for business.
• Make an informed choice about buying a car
• While driving, try not to do hard accelerations, don't spend more than 30 seconds idling, and go easy on the gas pedal and brakes;
• Make sure to regularly check your tire pressure.
• When flying, consider packing lighter because less fuel is consumed with less weight on the plane;
• Fly during the day because night flights have a bigger impact on climate;
• Buy carbon offsets -- or credits -- to compensate for the emissions on your flight.
1. Support Delayed Marriages
A UN report has suggested that there would be a significant decline in world population if the legal for marriage is made 20 years.
2. Support Building Accessible Medical Facilities
In developing countries. rural people, in order to ensure that at least some of their kids survive, give birth to more and more kids thus contributing to the population growth. If provided with optimum medical facilities population rate will almost certainly decline.
3. Support Legislative Actions
Proper enforcement of laws related to child labor, slavery and beggary will ensure that parents don’t sell their children or send them out to work thus forcing them to raise lesser number of kids.
4. Support Providing Incentives (Health, Educational, Financial)
There are certain incentive policies like paying certain some of money to people with not more than two kids or free or discounted education for single child etc. which are in place in most developing countries facing population related challenges and has also proved to be a useful measure.
5. Support Using Contraceptives
Contraceptives do not only prove to be an important population control measure but also prevents spreading of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS thus ensuring small healthy families.
6. Educate others about the big picture; Spread Awareness; Empower Women
People need to be told and made to understand the consequences of having too many children. Government and non-government institutions can carry awareness campaigns informing people how they will be unable to provide good nutrition, education or medical facilities to their children if they have too many. Population is also a reason for illiteracy and diseases and malnutrition and the negative effects of it are required to be communicated to the general public to expand their reasoning and understanding.
Gender discrimination is a major reason for population growth. People keep giving birth to kids in order to have more sons than daughters. Empowering woman with a say in matters concerning them like child birth and educating them to fight against discrimination will ensure a healthy and aware society.
Spread the word about climate change and educate people; give presentations on climate change and encourage institutions to increase energy efficiency.
Find out if your community has a climate action plan.
Carbon Footprint Ranking of Food
The following table shows the greenhouse gas emissions produced by one kilo of each food. It includes all the emissions produced on the farm, in the factory, on the road, in the shop and in your home. It also shows how many miles you need to drive to produce that many greenhouse gases. For example, you need to drive 63 miles to produce the same emissions as eating one kilogram of beef.
Meat, cheese and eggs have the highest carbon footprint. Fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts have much lower carbon footprints. If you move towards a mainly vegetarian diet, you can have a large impact on your personal carbon footprint.
Figures from the Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eater’s Guide and the EPA’s Guide to Passenger Vehicle Emissions.
1. Lower Food’s Carbon Footprint: Choose Plant-Based Nutrition
• use proteins such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh and quorn to replace meat, cheese and eggs
• make sure you are getting enough iron and zinc by including lots of wholegrains, beans and a variety of vegetables
• invest in some vegetarian or vegan cookery books and have fun experimenting
• don’t rely on vegetarian processed foods.
2. Bring Back Home-Cooking
• plan your meals ahead to reduce wastage
• save your leftovers and create a new meal with them
• if you can, make your own compost with uncooked vegetable scraps.
3. Cooking Smartly
• eat more raw foods that do not need cooking
• use the stove-top whenever possible
• next best is the microwave as it uses 50% less energy than an oven
• use the oven sparingly and smartly…reduce preheating, cook multiple foods, turn off early
• use electric kettles to boil water for cooking or drinking.
4. Eat Organic
Organic farming methods for both crops and animals have a much lower impact on the environment than conventional methods. Organic-certified farms must use natural methods for soil fertilisation, weed prevention and pest control. Antibiotics and growth hormones cannot be used to raise food animals, and there are standards of care which prevent cruelty to livestock. Genetically-modified and irradiated foods cannot be labelled organic and its better to avoid these processes which are not proven to be safe for us or the food chain.
5. Food’s Carbon Footprint:
An average vegetarian diet requires about a half the water to produce than a meat-based diet. eat a mainly plant-based diet.
Ways to reduce water usage:
• consume plant-based food
• only use the dishwasher when full and select the program with low water usage
• if you wash-up by hand, start with a half-empty bowl and rinse the dishes back into your washing-up water rather than down the plughole
• use filtered tap water for drinking rather than energy and water-intensive bottled water
• take a shower rather than a bath and shower less often in less time!
• turn off the taps when brushing your teeth or washing or shaving
• clean your clothes less often and only wash full loads
• use ‘grey’ water to water your garden and house-plants.
6. Shop Wisely
• use a shopping list to avoid those impulse purchases
• avoid products that use lots of packaging
• buy in bulk to save money and reduce packaging
• check the label – a long list of ingredients generally means a heavily processed item with a high carbon footprint
• frozen food has the highest carbon footprint, followed by canned, plastic, glass, then cardboard
• don’t buy bottled water.
7. Shop Local
Consume food produced locally. Around 11% of the greenhouse emissions involved in food production are linked to food transportation.
8. Reuse and Recycle
• Glass jars and plastic containers make great storage options.
• Take your own shopping bags and say no to plastic bags.
• Take reusable produce bags for your fruit and vegetables – if you use the ethylene-absorbing bags it prolongs shelf-life too.
• When you can’t reuse, make sure you recycle whatever you can.
9. Grow Your Own Food
• A great way to save money, get fit and reduce your carbon footprint is to grow your own fruit and vegetables.
• Even if you live in an apartment, what about using your balcony or even the communal outside areas?