10 Steps to Lower Your Eco Footprint
10 Steps To Lower Your Eco Footprint
This entry was posted on September 6, 2013.
Once upon a time I had no concept of the importance of preserving natural resources. I consumed what I wanted with no thought of recycling, reducing or reusing. I lived my life without consideration of the consequences for my actions or lack thereof. I had no idea what my eco footprint was, or what that even meant. When I realized I needed to take an environmental science class in college I was indifferent. I went into the class hoping for an easy A, I hoped that I could breeze through the class. How little did I know! I never expected that one college course would impact my life on a profound level; that it would change the way I view the world around me and the way I live my life. I had no idea that the course would awaken a passion within me for the environment, preservation and conservation.
I began to learn about my carbon footprint within the first day of class. When I realized how my lifestyle impacted the world around me and how someday my children would inherit this world from me I was moved to begin making changes to lower my eco footprint and to educate others about the small steps we can all take to make this world a better place. I would love to share 10 steps you can take to lower your eco footprint in hopes that you can begin living a greener life.
1) Buy Food At the Farmers Market
By purchasing local foods you are making a positive step to reducing your eco footprint as the foods you will purchase and eat are grown locally and did not need to be transported for long distances which reduces pollution and conserves natural resources like fossil fuels.
2) Bring a Mug to School or Work for Your Daily Coffee
If you can reuse the same mug daily you are saving at least 5 styrofoam cups from entering the trash can and a landfill each week. While one cup a day doesn't sound like much, it adds up to 260 cups per year. That is a lot of trash that could have been avoided!
3) Lower the Thermostat in Your Home in the Winter
If you lower the thermostat in your home by one degree you reduce your energy consumption by 3%. Chances are you will not notice that it is one degree cooler in your house, but you will notice the savings.
4) Plant a Tree
Did you know"A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings." (- McAliney, Mike. Arguments for Land Conservation: Documentation and Information Sources for Land Resources Protection, Trust for Public Land, Sacramento, CA, December, 1993) Planting one tree can make a difference.
Every year Americans discard over 4 million tons of office paper alone. Buying recycled paper products saves trees, water, landfill space and electricity.
6) Walk or Carpool Whenever Possible
For every one mile you aren't driving you are saving one pound of CO2 from being released. If you walk or share a ride you will save money and the frustrations of being stuck in traffic.
Packing your lunch in a reusable container can save a great deal of waste. You will reduce the use of plastic baggies that inevitably end up in a landfill or polluting a lake or river.
8) Say No to Bottled Water
Instead of spending roughly 8 cents per ounce with your average bottled water, invest in a great glass or stainless steel water bottle and enjoy the savings of filling your own bottle and reduce the number of bottles that end up in a landfill or as pollution. Read up on the Truth about Bottled Water.
9) Donate Used Items to Charity
Give your unwanted items a chance at a second life by donating them to charity. This will reduce the amount of trash you create while offering someone else the opportunity to make good use of your discarded items at a good price. We highlight the Silent Springs Artisans who donate to charities. Look for the "Gives Back" symbol to support those artisans!
Recycling items such as electronics, glass, metal, paper, cardboard and plastic can reduce the amount of trash you create on a weekly basis and it sets a good example for others. It is estimated that 90% of the items we throw away can be reclaimed, reused or recycled. Is Recycling Worth it? Landfilling is not a sustainable planning approach! Landfills create methane which is a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Eventually landfill liners will leak which will contaminate soil and ground water. For some unique ways to promote recycling check out this article.
I hope these 10 ideas help you to live a greener life.
I would love to hear how you are lowering your eco footprint so that I can incorporate your ideas into my daily life. Add your ideas to the comments below.