Guys, Earth Day is really important. Because it reminds us that what we do today has a profound effect on tomorrow. At B & B, we do not want you to be a total carbon footprint f***up, because being environmentally irresponsible is not cute on anyone. Here are some of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Eat locally produced and organic food. We all know it’s good for us, the Earth, and our neighboring farmers, but if that is not enough of a reason, it is estimated that 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the production and transport of food. And, I promise you that those local, organic strawberries taste way better than the ones that were trucked in from Florida (unless you’re in Florida of course). Join a CSA if possible. 🙂
2. Reduce dairy and meat consumption. I’m not getting up on my Vegetarian Pedestal for long here (I find it irritating when others tell me how to live my life), but raising cattle takes a lot of resources. It’s good to mix it up with some vegetarian and vegan meals – hello Meatless Monday! You can find tons of delicious meat free recipes right here on B & B. 😀 Like all of these. And this one. And this one, too.
3. Reduce and Recycle. Dude, don’t be a dick. JUST DO IT. I will chase you down if you throw that pop can into the trash when there is a recycling bin sitting right next to it, so watch your back. It has been estimated that 29% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the “provision of goods,” which means the extraction of resources, manufacturing, transport, and final disposal of “goods” which include consumer products (Veggetti, Lulu) and packaging, building components, and passenger vehicles (Marshmallow Mobile), but excluding food. If you reuse and re-purpose, or recycle and resell items you no longer need, you can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. So, re-sell your old stuff on eBay. Find a new use for that old, semi-fugly planter gathering dust. Recycle everything you possibly can. Or you’re just an @$$hole to the planet.
4. Turn the lights off, and use a programmable thermostat. My parents used to chase us around the house turning the lights off when we left the room, but the tables have turned and I have
turned into my parents become a light switch and thermostat Nazi in my own home. Turn the shiz OFF. Even better, replace your old school incandescent light bulbs with the good ones: compact fluorescent or LED ones. Yes, they are more expensive – but every little bit we do counts. Install a programmable thermostat that enables you to be worry-free (and I won’t judge you if you turn your heat down at night to 55°F – I totally do! Dude, I’m from WNY – we don’t mess around). Or be super cool like my bro-in-law and sister and get a Nest.
5. Homeowners: Insulate/Seal your home. Buy energy efficient appliances. I am not a homeowner, but I know that both my sister & bro-in-law and my parents represent the energy efficient options when it comes to making smart, environmentally friendly choices for their homes. I am proud to have them to look up to as an example, as they factor how “green” an option is into their decision (even though I give my sis a real hard time sometimes). Plus, you will save on your heating/electricity bills (more $$$ for Lulu and new running sneakers). Look for incentives in your state/country/general area, and when it comes to choosing appliances, watch out for the ENERGY STAR label.
6. Don’t be a Masshole driver. Speeding and unnecessary acceleration (i.e. putting the pedal to the metal on I-95) reduce mileage by up to 33%, waste gas and money, and increase your carbon footprint. Properly maintaining your vehicle helps to reduce your vehicle’s carbon footprint as well: just by properly inflating your tires, you can reduce gas mileage by 3% (dude, it adds up!) and some fixes, like replacing a faulty oxygen sensor, can increase fuel efficiency up to 40%. Other things that help:
- Ride your bike, walk or take public transport when possible.
- Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle (aka don’t buy a Hummer).
- Take all that random shiz out of your car (reduce weight), and take fewer trips (be organized when running errands!).
7. Be smart when it comes to water usage. Make informed choices when it comes to buying shower heads, faucets, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines. Don’t wash your car more often than necessary. Keep marinating in the shower to a minimum. And use climate-approved plants in your garden (and irrigate/water your plants responsibly). And never, EVER buy plastic water bottles unless you are dying of thirst in the Sahara. If you need some inspiration for a great reusable water bottle, check out my Friday Faves.
8. Be conscious when it comes to airline travel. You know the drill: avoid flying when possible, fly less frequently, fly shorter distances, and fly economy class (all of these help reduce your carbon footprint). And definitely don’t be this guy.
9. Don’t take a vacation to outer space. Yes, Richard Branson, we all know that you want people to pay obscene amounts of money to go to outer space. But casual space travel just is not that great for the environment. Period.
10. Calculate your carbon footprint so you know where you’re at. Being informed is the first step toward progress. 🙂
So, today – be aware of the changes you can make in order to make the future world a better place. Take responsibility for your own carbon emissions, which is your contribution to climate change. And what the hell – go plant a tree (just make sure it’s approved for your climate first). 😉
With warmth (but not of the global variety),