Every day, we take a lot from our planet, without even realizing it. From the water that we need for many daily activities to the fuel we need to travel around the globe, our consumption from nature is massive. Without natural resources, life wouldn’t exist, as simple as that.
However, do we ever wonder what we give back to mother nature in return for all that we take from her? Sadly, most will struggle to answer this question. For years, we have kept on exploiting nature and never cared enough about it.
In doing so, we have slowly burnt down almost all its precious resources, damaged our atmosphere, and increased our carbon footprint, so much that the entire planet is looming under the threat of global warming. We have been both reckless and careless in our exploitation of the resources that are given to us by nature and have rarely thought about giving something back.
People live with a belief that it is the responsibility of the governments and the environmental organizations to look after all the problems, and that they don’t have much impact on nature. But this flawed thinking has resulted in millions of people carelessly harming nature without considering the consequences of their actions.
Fortunately, all is not lost and there is still time. There is still time to stop blaming the governments and understanding our responsibilities. Additionally, it’s time to rethink the way we live our lives. It’s time to start caring for the environment and giving it back in whatever way we can.
How and where do you start? The answer is simple. There are a lot of things you can do and many things that you can avoid to help our environment. The first step should be to lower our carbon emissions, at least what we can control, and live a low-carbon life.
Now, what exactly is a low carbon life? Let us find out!
What is a Low-Carbon Life?
All human beings on the planet have their carbon footprint. Carbon footprint can be referred to as the amount of carbon dioxide released back into the atmosphere as a result of numerous activities. From traveling to work in a car to using electricity for running appliances, humans increase their carbon footprint without even knowing it.
To live a low-carbon life, you need to focus solely on trying to reduce carbon emissions. Living a low-carbon life doesn’t necessarily mean that your whole life will turn upside down. Of course, you probably won’t stop using electricity, water, fuel, etc. Rather, a low-carbon life is aimed at reducing your consumption and limiting it to as little as possible.
The good news here is that you can start contributing to nature in many ways. Once you are aware of your responsibilities and prepared to take the situation seriously, it’s time to start taking actual steps towards leading a low-carbon life. Once all of us understand our responsibilities, we can make a change in the world.
Here are the 5 changes you can make in your live right now, and start the journey toward living a low-carbon life:
About 71.5% of the earth’s surface is made up of water. Before you think there is an abundance of it, you should know that 96.5% of the earth’s water is in oceans and seas, which is too salty for our use. Another 1.5% of water is in the form of icebergs or permanent snow, which - again - we can’t use.
Only 1.69% of groundwater and 0.76% of freshwater out of the total water present on Earth is available for our use. As a result, we should be more careful about our water usage and strive toward saving it as much as possible. When you use less water, less energy is needed to make it available. Less energy eventually means lower carbon emissions and footprint.
There are a lot of ways through which you can start saving water as early as today. Some of these ways include:
- Turning off the tap while you are brushing your teeth and being careful in using only as much water as you need.
- Fixing leaking and dripping taps as soon as possible.
- Reduce your daily shower time. Every minute you spend in the shower uses up to 17 liters of water. In other words, you are saving 17 liters of water just by reducing one minute of your shower.
Indulge in Low-carbon Traveling
We often use our vehicles or public transport for most of our travels. However, these vehicles increase the pressure on the environment as they use a lot of fuel energy to operate. Even electric vehicles use a lot of energy, which isn’t good for the environment.
The first change you would be required to implement for reducing your carbon footprint by changing your current habits and opting to walk or cycle. Yes, it is not optimal to do this if the distance is big, but for a smaller distance, this should be your first preference.
Besides this, when you need to cover larger distances, you can consider the following ways to try and keep your carbon footprint limited:
- Always accelerate and brake slowly, as this helps in saving fuel and covering a few extra miles.
- Turn off your engine if you are stuck in a traffic jam. Not only does this save your fuel, but also helps in reducing emissions from your vehicle.
- Have your vehicle serviced within scheduled timelines. This keeps the car healthy and helps in reducing emissions and saving fuel.
- Drive at a consistent speed as much as possible. The best speed range for optimum fuel usage is around 55mph, so you should try and drive in this speed range only.
- When you are traveling for long distances, it’s preferable to take trains over planes, since they consume less power and are comparatively better for the environment.
Electricity production results in a huge amount of carbon emissions worldwide. The demand for electricity has been ever-increasing due to the emergence of advanced technology and newer machines for almost every task. Besides, the increasing population is also a huge factor.
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to the planet by reducing your electricity usage, then there are multiple facets attached to it. Before you think of electricity saving methods at your home, you need to consider the electricity source of your home.
It is advised to shift to low-carbon electricity generation methods such as solar power, hydro-power or even nuclear power. If your electricity is coming from another source, it is better to try and switch to eco-friendly sources if possible.
Next, you can try and follow the below-mentioned steps for reducing your electricity consumption:
- Install low energy and LED light bulbs. These consume less electricity while giving you more brightness.
- Remember to turn off all lights when going out. Similarly, switch off appliances and lights when not in use.
- Purchase energy-efficient appliances. All appliances come with Energy Star ratings, with stars from 1-5 awarded for most to least energy consumption. Try to buy at least four-star, if not five-star appliances.
- Try and Insulate your home. Insulation ensures that the heat is trapped in the home during winters, while it is not allowed to enter home during summer. As such, your usage of air conditioners and heaters will decrease, and as a result, your power and utility bills will fall.
Change your Diet
Changing your dietary lifestyle can have a huge impact on lowering your carbon footprint. If you are wondering how your food affects the climate, then you will be shocked to know that meat and dairy products are very bad for the climate, as they result in up to 15% of the global greenhouse emissions including gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide.
By making a few changes to what you consume in your diet, you can contribute to reducing the pressure on the environment. Here are some tips we suggest you should start doing:
- Consider stopping consuming dairy and meat products. The lesser the demand, the lower greenhouse emissions.
- Eat more plant-based diets such as fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables.
- Start eating a fiber-rich diet. It is great for your health, and its production barely emits any greenhouse gases.
- Stop eating processed foods that come with plastic packaging. Plastic is known as a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and hence you should try and avoid its use in your daily lives as much as possible.
According to research, roughly 20 pieces of clothing are manufactured per person in a year. Because of regularly changing fashion styles and trends, clothes are produced more regularly to satisfy the demands of the consumers. Manufacturers also keep coming up with attractive discounts to surge the demand, and the impact of this is eventually borne by the environment.
Shopping fewer clothes, ensuring longer use, and reducing unnecessary buying can have a big impact on reducing carbon footprints. Such actions can bring down the demand, which will further reduce manufacturing and lift some pressure off the environment. Here are some detailed actions that you can start doing to contribute towards lowering your carbon footprint:
- Donate your old clothes. You can donate to either the less privileged, for some sewing project that will reuse your old clothes or even shelter homes of animals.
- Choose the right fabric. Different fabrics have different levels of impact on the environment. For example, wool is more friendly to nature than synthetic.
- Buy long-lasting clothes. Invest in clothes that will last for a long time and that you will wear multiple times.
- Recycle your clothes or reuse them for other needs, such as giving them another purpose like cleaning.
Climate change is real, and the global impacts of this rapid change are here for all to see. The high intensity of natural disasters, the rising temperatures every year, and the melting of the icebergs is a result of years of pressure on the planet. Unfortunately, the pressure is only bound to increase ahead, and the impacts are going to be more severe.
The governments are doing and will continue to do what is in their hands. Everyone is realizing the potential danger that is looming ahead of us and our future generations, and definite steps are being taken. But even the governments and environmental organizations won’t succeed if there’s not an honest contribution from all the residents of the planet.
It is about time we stop turning our faces from these problems which pose a danger to our existence and start contributing as much as we can. By following the five ways mentioned above and taking retrospective actions, let us pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take away some pressure from the earth, not only for ourselves but also for our fellow beings and the future generations to come.