As more communities are touched by extreme weather events, and evidence mounts that there is a climate change connection, more people worldwide are looking to do their part to lower their carbon footprint. According to conservation officials, baby steps can add up and really make a difference when it comes to curbing environmental damage.
We all have a carbon footprint; a certain amount of carbon pollution that we generate. According to the Nature Conservancy in Washington, we create pollution by the daily choices we make. So what exactly can we do? The Nature Conservancy challenges people to change just one small habit to help reduce climate change.
• Shorter Showers – it is estimated that some U.S states could save almost three trillion gallons of water if every person shortened their shower by five minutes. It would also cut water bill costs.
• Cold water washing – consider washing clothes in cold water. It takes five times more energy to run a load in the washing machine in hot water than in cold. Most brands of detergent activate at temperatures as low as 60 degrees. If you can line dry clothing then do it. One dryer load is said to be the equivalent of turning on just over 200 light bulbs for an hour.
• Car-free commuting – more cities are becoming bicycle friendly. Seattle is a good example. Car-free commuting cuts emissions, and saves money on gas and vehicle maintenance.
• Consume less meat – research suggests that livestock is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Switching it up a little at mealtime by having beans or tofu can cut your carbon output. You can also consider getting your meat from sustainable farms that are concerned about reducing their fossil fuel use.
• Eliminate plastics – studies suggest that producing bottled water takes between 5.6 and 10.2 million joules of energy per liter, depending on transportation methods. This works out to 2,000 times the energy needed to produce tap water. It takes a lot of energy to produce plastics, such as straws, cups, toys, and bags and then they release harmful chemicals into soil when they are disposed of, not to mention, they jeopardize marine life. Using stainless steel straws, reusable cups, and reusable cloth bags can help.
While these lifestyle adjustments may seem minor, the more people commit to change, the bigger the impact. Making changes when it comes to your investment portfolio can also make a difference. According to Statista, an estimated 3.3 billion U.S dollars was newly invested into clean energy in Canada last year (2017). Financial experts say environmental impact and financial reward can have a large overlap.