Without doubt, environmentalism and being green are red hot these days. From renewable energy to activism, individuals and companies are cleaning up their acts (but watch out for green washing). For those of you who haven’t started yet, or if you need a few extra tips, here’s a guide to help you reduce your carbon footprint.
A Carbon Whatprint?
Every new craze comes with its own lingo. For technology, the word “Google” started as a noun (Google, the company) then changed to a verb (go Google it). The greening of society is no different.
According to CarbonFootprint.com,
“a Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.” Add up everything you do that uses carbon – that’s your carbon footprint.”
Curious to see your print? Take Al Gore’s quiz to find out or check out this sample of the Carbon Footprint of the Holidays.
When the holiday season rolls around, it’s a time for family and friends – not a time to toss more CO2 into the air! Wikipedia has an interesting blurb about the carbon footprint of Christmas in the UK. During the Christmas season, each person produces as much as 650 kg of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equal to 5.5% of the UK’s annual carbon footprint! Here is how the numbers breakdown:
- 26 kg of CO2 from Christmas food
- 96 kg of CO2 from Christmas car travel
- 218 kg of CO2 from extravagant lighting displays
- 310 kg of CO2 on Christmas shopping
I have a feeling the numbers for the US are even worse…
Reduce your footprint with these tips:
- Sign up to a green energy supplier (an supplier that generates power from renewable sources)
- Turn down the heat in winter (make your house cooler)
- Turn up the thermostat in the summer (make your house warmer)
- Use florescent light bulbs – they last longer, save money and use less energy.
- Carpool – you have friends, take them with you! The more the merrier, right?
- Ride an electric scooter (powered by renewable energy). Everyone will be jealous of you because scooters are so cool.
- RECYCLE! You really should be doing this by now.
- Contact your representative in Congress
- Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner
- Stop traveling for business so much, do a web conference when you can!
- Use public transportation – We New Yorkers love the MTA. There are decent ways of planning trips using all public transportation.
- Use Blackle when searching the internet
- If you have to drive, drive a hybrid, moped or motorcycle. If not, just ride your bicycle!
- Plant a tree.
- Buy Energy Star computers, monitors and appliances.
- Avoid the “Phantom” load. BeGreenNow states, ”
Phantom” loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off.”
No one is expected to do every tip, but this is a long list and there is something for everyone. A clean environment is important for health and wellness. Remember, we are all in the fight against climate change together – every little bit helps!
So which one can you commit to this year?