5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Right Now

Climate change is real, but not unsolvable. There are lots of actionable steps you can take to save the planet from an ever-changing climate.

Here are five ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

1. Learn the 5 R’s: refuse, reduce, reuse, rot, recycle

Going zero waste is a great step towards combating climate change. Practicing the 5 R’s of zero waste can help. You’ve probably heard of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. But there are two more that are equally important. Let’s break it down:

REFUSE: Avoid single use plastics and paper products by saying no thank you, opting for reusables.

REDUCE: Downsize what you purchase, opting to be more mindful of what you really need.

REUSE: Always find a way to keep an item out of the landfill by keeping it in great condition, repairing or upcycling it when it breaks.

ROT: Set up a compost system for your food scraps, or find a food scrap drop-off center (like a farmers market, or community garden) near your house.

RECYCLE: Properly recycle any plastic, paper, glass or metal that comes into your life you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse by researching your state’s recycling laws.

2. Bike more and drive less:

Traditional cars put out a lot of exhaust, which pollutes the air. In fact, vehicles produce one-third of all U.S. air pollution.

The toxins emitted by vehicles are also very dangerous for human health, considering the tailpipes are at street level where humans can breathe the air directly into their lungs.

If you can’t bike to work for whatever reason, take public transportation. It puts fewer cars on the road, which reduces the amount of exhaust filling the air at once.

3. Conserve water and protect our waterways:

Reducing your water usage is essential: There’s only so much water on this earth, and we can’t make any more of it.

Did you know 96.5 percent of the water on earth is too salty for human consumption? Two-thirds of the remaining freshwater is locked away in polar ice, glaciers, and permanent snow.

Melting it won’t help, seeing as most of it will just end up like seawater. That’s why it’s so important to cherish the water we have.

4. Eat seasonally, locally, and more plants:

I love eating seasonal foods! Whenever I go to the farmer’s market, I’m amazed by the bounty mother nature has to offer with each passing season. All the produce is at its peak, so it’s absolutely delicious.

Try to buy the majority of your food as local produce. Animal products are much more intense as they require more water and resources.

Making the majority of your plate plant-based foods is healthier and better for the planet. Eating seasonally also means eating locally, which is great for the environment. When you support local farmers, you don’t have to worry about how far your food traveled to get to you.

It doesn’t have to sit in traffic for days, spewing exhaust fumes into the air. It gets to you quickly, without polluting the air.

5.  Switch to sustainable, clean energy:

The U.S. gets 81 percent of its total energy from oil, coal and natural gas (in other words, fossil fuels). These fuels heat our homes, run our cars, and provide us with electricity.

However, fossil fuels are limited, finite resources and just the transportation of them alone can cause air pollution. When the fuels are burned, they emit toxins that speed up climate change.

There is good news though! You can help stop our reliance on fossil fuels by switching to sustainable energy today. There are so many amazing, innovative ways to source energy in this day and age.