3 Changes To Make In Order To Minimize Your Carbon Footprint
I believe it’s truly important that, from time to time, all of us to be reminded of this important message:
“The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. “— Chief Seattle
Mother Earth suffers now because our actions have had terrible consequences.
The planet is literally on fire, sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting, there’s extreme weather all over the world — drought, hurricanes, storms, and floods.
And instead of giving her time to renew, we are continually polluting her land, water, and air and waste her natural resources — and this only shows how greedy and disrespectful we are towards her.
“Some day the earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you too will die.” — John Hollow Horn, Oglala Lakota
To help this lovely Earth, we need to improve our behavior towards her — after all, it’s our absolute duty as earthlings.
And here are three changes you can make today to reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Go vegan.
By being vegan for one year alone, you considerably reduce your environmental impact and save — 365 animal lives, 401,500 gallons of water, 14,600 lbs of grain, 10,950 sq. ft of forest, and 7,300 lbs of CO2.
It is important to talk about what we eat because the food we consume has a huge impact on the environment.
Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, deforestation, and species extinction.
The steps towards it:
Educate yourself about veganism and how bad eating meat, dairy, and eggs are for the planet — how the food you eat got into your plate and what was needed for it to be produced.
If going vegan cold turkey is not for you, then try going a day of the week without consuming meat, dairy, or eggs.
You’ve probably heard of Veganuary — it’s a non-profit organization that inspires people to try being vegan for the month of January and beyond. It also helps you with plant-based recipes and nutrition tips.
Or you could join Challenge 22, another NGO — where you also receive support if you want to try veganism, this time for 22 days.
2. Ditch fast-fashion.
Fast-fashion’s carbon footprint is huge — I recently wrote an article about how this industry is killing our planet.
It leads to plastic pollution because it uses cheap materials — polyester, nylon, viscose, etc. that take hundreds of years to break down.
Brands use extremely toxic dyes and chemicals when they produce these clothes that are extremely dangerous for both people and the planet.
A t-shirt made from polyester will live on this planet much longer than me and you — that’s crazy!
The steps towards it:
I suggest you watch the documentary The True Cost — it’s available on both Netflix and YouTube and it’s an absolute eye-opener.
It shows how unethical and unsustainable this industry is — fast fashion clothes are made in sweatshops in developing countries, by people who are paid unfair wages. And how the true cost of cheap clothes it’s paid by the environment and the people who make these clothes.
By not buying fast fashion brands you don’t create demand — you stop supporting an industry that is destroying the planet.
Choose quality over quantity and try slow fashion brands instead, like Everlane for example.
Buy second-hand clothes— go to a charity or a vintage shop, there should be at least one of them in your city.
Buy clothes made from sustainable fabrics— linen, hemp, tencel, organic cotton, that will take little time to break down in nature.
Don’t throw away your clothes if all they need is a repair — this way you make them last longer.
Also, check how much environmental impact your fashion habits have, by using the fashion footprint calculator.
3. Avoid single-use plastic.
There’s, I believe, no news for anyone that plastic pollutes the planet, litters our oceans, is deadly for birds, animals and marine life that mistake it for food.
Most of the time, saying no to single-use plastic means finding the eco-friendly alternative.
The steps towards it:
Always carry a reusable bag with you — you never know when you might need it.
Refuse plastic straws — make a habit of telling the waiter that you don’t one with your drink. Or you can always carry a reusable metal straw made from aluminum or stainless steel — they’re safe for both you and the environment.
Swap your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo one.
Say no to disposable coffee cups — switch to a travel cup that is reusable and made from natural fibre, like bamboo.
Make your period more eco-friendly — disposable sanitary pads and tampons are incredibly harmful to the environment as they’re made mostly of plastic and take hundreds of years to break down in nature. There are many eco-friendly options here — you can use a menstrual cup, reusable sanitary pads, period underwear, or organic cotton tampons and pads.
Stop using face wipes as they contain plastic. You can replace them with a muslin cloth that is reusable and some melting balm or oil. Here is my zero-waste method to remove make-up.
Ditch plastic razors because there is a zero-waste swap for them— the safety razor!
Some extra tips:
Shop locally and in-season.
Make a day/weekly meal plan so that no food will go to waste.
Don’t throw away your vegetable leftovers, but make a meal from them — like a creamy soup.
Make sure you wash the inside of the jar, bottle, tin, etc. that you’re about to recycle so that they will not contaminate all the other recycling.
Air-dry your clothes whenever possible.