With pollution reaching levels never before seen and having a major effect on our environment, it is more important than ever to do what we can to stop it. Most people do not realize it, but they can do something right now to improve the environment by going “Carbon Neutral.” Going carbon neutral means that you produce almost no carbon emissions through your day-to-day activities. You then completely clear your carbon debt by purchasing carbon offsets. This means you have no carbon footprint and you are not contributing to the problems of carbon pollution in our atmosphere. There are many ways to start going carbon neutral at home and on the go.
Start by looking at your travel plans, such as where you go on vacation and how you get to work every day. Most people drive or use a car to get to work and do chores. These vehicles release fumes, such as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Consider doing more walking or riding a bicycle to work if you live close enough. If you need to drive, look at fuel-efficient vehicles or even electric vehicles that produce no carbon emissions. Even taking the bus on a daily basis can help you cut down on your personal carbon footprint (while also saving you about $10,000 a year).
Many people also use a lot of electricity at home, which is produced by power plants, such as coal plants that release pollution into the air. There are many ways you can cut down on your electricity usage at home to help reduce your carbon footprint. Set the thermostat to a slightly higher temperature in the summer and a slightly lower temperature in the winter so you are not using as much energy to operate the heating and air-conditioning. Make sure to turn off lights after leaving the room, and use fluorescent bulbs or LEDs, which are more energy efficient. Some people can go even further by having solar power panels installed to provide some or all of their electricity at home (which can also now save many people a boatload of money).
Most people do not realize it, but we actually produce a lot of carbon emissions in the production of food. Tractors and other farm equipment use gasoline or diesel to operate. Granaries and other manufacturing plants use electricity and gas to operate their equipment and process food. Truck drivers use diesel to get food to the supermarket. And supermarkets use electricity to power their refrigerators and lights. Furthermore, livestock production as a whole — through deforestation, the inefficient use of land and water, and the many chemicals and gallons of fuel used — is considered to be the single largest cause of global warming globally.
Naturally, you can make some simple adjustments in your daily diet and purchasing habits to reduce your carbon footprint. When possible, make a point of purchasing locally grown foods so that they do not require as much gas to get to your house. Buy from organic farmers who do not use as many pesticides and other chemicals. Eat foods that are low on the food chain, such as lots of vegetables and grains, which do not require as much energy to produce. Finally, do as much as you can to recycle the leftovers and their containers so they do not wind up in landfills producing greenhouse gases through decomposition.
If everyone makes the effort to reduce their carbon footprint and move towards a more carbon neutral lifestyle, we can do a lot to reduce pollution. Making small changes in how you travel, your energy usage at home, and what you eat can make a big difference.