Carbon footprint is a measurement of the number of greenhouse gases emitted as a consequence of human activities. It can be used as a measure to compare the impact of global warming from one activity to another. For example, it can give us an idea about how much more fossil fuels we burn when we buy a plastic bottle as opposed to buying a reusable water bottle that we refill from our tap water at home. In general terms, this measurement tells us how much carbon dioxide each person/organization/country produces for every product they use and for every service they consume.    

Every day people have a big impact on how much carbon dioxide is added into the environment. Most of the time people don’t realize that they are adding to their footprint.  Most of the everyday decisions we make have a carbon footprint associated with them.  

The average American generates more than 20 tons of carbon a year. This is a major contributor to our country’s total emissions, which amounts to 5% of all human-made emissions worldwide.      

Heating and cooling account for half of all home energy use. Sean D via Unsplash

Fortunately, reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. There are many simple things you can do in your daily life that will add up over time and reduce your impact on the environment.    

Here are some ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home:

  • Replace 30 incandescent light bulbs with LED lamps, which use about 85 percent less energy.
  • Set thermostats 2°F lower in winter and 2°F higher in summer. Heating and cooling account for half of all home energy use.
  • Vacation closer to home. Air travel is more popular than ever and jet fuel combustion is a major contributor to climate change.
  • Avoid products with excessive packaging to reduce trash by 10 percent.
  • When replacing your car, consider a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
  • Recycle at least half of your household waste.

Putting eco-friendly practices in place is a long process, but it’s worth it. You can start by making a list of all the possible changes you could make and then picking and choosing which one works best for you. After that, just start taking action, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t stick with them right away.