Believe it or not, reducing your carbon footprint can actually be fun sometimes. There are many little things that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. The Nature Conservancy has a carbon footprint calculator on their website.
1. Buy reusable materials - you can buy glass jars instead of plastic and reuse these bottles for multiple purposes: instead of buying fruit preserves or jam, make your own by boiling the fruit with some sugar and water and store it in your old glass jar. Glass is made of sand and can be reused virtually forever! A jar of homemade preserves can also make a great addition to a potluck or picnic or just as a gift to a friend.
2. Ride your bike – riding your bike may not always be an option, but most people can ride at least for recreation if not as a means of transportation to work. Around half of all the residents of the Netherlands ride their bikes to work!!! No wonder the Dutch women look so good! You can also check out another carbon footprint calculator from the carbon footprint website.
3. Use meat as a side instead of the main dish - being a vegetarian is not for everyone…myself included, but I find it more enjoyable to use meat as a garnish to my meals rather than the main focus. Most beef, pork and chicken raised in the U.S. is done under pretty nasty conditions and cows produce methane, which is four times stronger than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. A simple rule of thumb is double the vegetable portion on your plate and half the meat portion. You will find that you probably have more energy, also. I do.
4. Buy food and clothing at local stores - buying food from local farmers means less gas used to transport the food, less packaging to keep the food good and better relationships between you and the people that grow your food. Buying from local clothing stores supports small business owners and enhances the local economy. It can also be fun to have styles that other people do not. So be a trendsetter and shop local! You can find a great list of local businesses for Sonoma County, California to plan a vacation around.
5. Dine by candlelight – candlelight dinners are not only more romantic, but also greener. Candles are easy to make and cheap to buy. So instead of turning on the lights in the dining room light a candle and save the planet!
6. Take longer vacations – instead of flying or driving to your vacation destination for a few short days. several times a year, plan an extended vacation to your favorite spot. You will use less fuel getting there on one extended trip instead of several short trips and you will probably enjoy the extended relaxation that comes from staying in a nice place for more time. Their are some great options for green vacations that include Belize, Costa Rica and Antarctica!
7. Take it easy, lead foot – we use a lot of gas when we accelerate in our cars and the truth for most short trips is that we only get to our destination a few seconds faster if we accelerate more. So go easy on the pedal. You will save money in gas, burn off less carbon dioxide and probably keep your blood pressure lower as well.