3. GIVE YOUR HOME AN ENERGY UPGRADE
The USGBC states that our built environment accounts for a whopping 40 percent of global carbon emissions, and much of those emissions are produced in the service of interior heating, cooling, and lighting. The best way to cut this carbon load is to make our buildings more energy-efficient -- the process often involves renovations and investment in your home, but it can save you a bundle on utility bills in the long run. Start with an energy audit and then check out our Green Home Experts Series for a wealth of eco tips - from setting up smart energy systems to improving your interior to upgrading your windows.
1. GO VEGETARIAN
The amount of greenhouse gas produced by the livestock industry is staggering – the Worldwatch Institute estimates that meat and dairy production accounts for 51% of the world’s total emissions once you factor in livestock respiration, land use, methane production, and a whole range of other figures. Faced with this statistic, it’s pretty easy to see how cutting meat out of your diet can reduce your carbon footprint. It’s also important to consider the distance that food travels to your plate, so consider buying locally produced, minimally packaged produce at farmers markets – you can even check to see if any nearby farms offer a weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) box.
2. PLANT A TREE
Simple though it may sound, planting a tree is one of the cheapest and most effective means of removing CO2 from the atmosphere. A single tree is capable of absorbing 48 pounds of CO2 each year while producing enough fresh oxygen for 2 people. Trees also remove airborne pollutants like sulfur dioxide from burning coal, nitrogen oxides from auto emissions, and other particulates, making them a great boon in urban environments. Finally, planting a tree near your house can actually improve your home’s energy efficiency – trees provide shade during hot summer days, and during the winter they lose their leaves, allowing sunlight and warmth to stream in through your windows.