6 Impactful Actions You Can Take to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, According to an Expert
Graham Hill is something of an environmental vanguard. Here are six things he and his company, the Carbonauts, recommend doing immediately to reduce your carbon footprint.
Cutting down on our carbon output is key to quelling the climate crisis. The most atmospherically plentiful of all greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (and particularly an overabundance of it) contributes to our planet's warming, resulting in extreme weather that affects wildlife habitats, food supply, and more. If you're wondering how to reduce your emissions today, the answers are simple—and there are six of them.
"Each person, they're going to be at a different place along the continuum," says Graham Hill, the brain behind environmentally innovative brands like TreeHugger, LifeEdited, and Carbonauts, in an episode of Good Together. "And so we just want to help them on their climate journey moving to be more sustainable." To achieve that seemingly simple task, Hill and Carbonauts center what they call the "Big Six," six essential steps toward a reduced carbon footprint.
"It feels like there's, there's a lot of momentum," says Hill, referencing the expedient expansion of the environmental movement in recent years, along with the commitments being made on an individual, corporate, and governmental level. "Hopefully we'll keep it up, increase it, and come up with some great technological fixes—but also just change how we live."
Here, six ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and make a difference.
Six Ways to Reduce Your Climate Footprint
1. Invest in Renewable Energy
While much of renewable energy is dependent on policy, there are still things you can do while waiting for your local lawmakers to enact change. "That could be community solar, that could be panels on your roof, that could be signing up from your utility," says Hill.
Regardless of your approach, championing renewable energy in your daily life is the surest way to encourage those around you (and the powers that be) to make the switch, too.
2. Drive Electric
Electric or partially electric vehicles are fast becoming a manufacturing norm, and for good reason—the International energy agency (IEA) estimates that a shift toward EVs could save nearly two million barrels of oil per day.
Hill notes that while we make this collective shift (and if you're not quite ready, financially or otherwise, to spring for an EV), reducing your mileage is a good place to start.
3. Eat a Plant-Rich Diet
"Eating a plant-rich diet and reducing food waste are some things that have come more to the forefront in the last number of years," says Hill. He's right—animal agriculture is responsible for about 75% of total greenhouse gas emissions. And as for food waste? Our global volume of edible waste is 1.3 billion tons, the majority of that left in landfills to emit methane.
Choosing more plant-centric meals and utilizing your food scraps are important steps on any climate journey.
4. Mind Your Flying
This one is pretty simple. Hey, travelers! Endeavor to take fewer flights, or work to optimize your air time. Instead, opt for more sustainable forms of travel whenever possible.
In a travel ranking, traveling by train was found to be the most eco-friendly way to get around, followed by bus, ride-sharing/carpooling, car, and—lastly—airplane.
5. Buy Offsets
If you have to spend abundant time in the sky, or participate in any activity you know to be an emissions issue, Carbonauts suggests investing in offsets. This could manifest as planting trees, volunteering, purchasing only secondhand clothing, or donating to causes guaranteed to exactly offset your own carbon contributions. (The Carbonauts and Terrapass Offset Program offers a good place to begin.)
6. Encourage Social Norms
Inspiring others to join in on a climate-minded journey requires motivational, honest, community-based conversations.
"If we're going to get the whole world on board with doing this stuff, it's going to be through social norms," says Hill. "You really have to encourage people to share, and to share in a tactful, non-preachy, helpful, enthusiastic manner, so that people can learn and be inspired."
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