Take the quiz What’s My Carbon Footprint? to assess your personal impact.
Here are a few things you can implement to reduce your carbon footprint:
- Buy fuel-efficient cars, drive less, and stop idling your car in the school pickup line.
Combine errands to reduce trips. Bike, walk and carpool when possible. You save one pound of carbon dioxide emissions for every mile of driving you eliminate, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology. (5)
- Buy renewable energy from your utility company.
- Replace light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs as you are able. By replacing the bulbs in your home, you eliminate 150 pounds or more of CO2 for each bulb per year.
- Plant trees and vegetation.(5)
For a more exhaustive guide to reducing your carbon footprint, read here.
3) Let’s have plastic bags go the way of cigarettes and littering.
In the 1970s and 80s, it was not uncommon to see litter fluttering out the windows of cars, a practice nearly unthinkable today. The use of plastic bags is headed for the same infamy.
According to The Worldwatch Institute, 4 to 5 trillion bags were produced worldwide in 2002. Just this week China imposed a crackdown on the production of plastic bags, the State Council citing the waste of energy and resources, and the danger the bags pose to wildlife. (6)
Scientific American reported, “The fact that Americans throw away some 100 billion plastic grocery bags each year means we are drilling for and importing millions of barrels worth of oil and natural gas for a convenient way to carry home a few groceries.” (7)
Beyond the carbon footprint of manufacturing plastic bags, consider the impact on wildlife. A Worldwatch Institute report quoted in Scientific American revealed that at least 267 species of marine wildlife are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of trash in the oceans, most of which is made of plastic. (7)