There are several easy, but not obvious, ways people can reduce their carbon footprint.
Eating locally grown food is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Buying local not only reduces the use of fossil fuels, it also helps the local economy and is typically healthier than eating food from distant lands. Local food is typically fresher, tastier, and uses fewer or no chemicals.
Unplugging electronics when not in use reduces the use of electricity in the home and workplace. Even when not in use, electronics that are plugged in use a small trickle of electricity, commonly called phantom load and standby power. Have you ever noticed those little green or red lights, or the always-on clock display? Over time, this waste adds up. Lawrence Berkeley National Labs estimates that as much as 10% of residential electricity use is from standby power, which is responsible for about 1% of global CO2 emissions. One way to make the turn-offs easier is to use power strips and end the phantom use with one switch for multiple appliances or electronics.
A third way to reduce one’s carbon footprint is to reduce or avoid printing at the office and at home. Printing uses electricity as well as chemicals and paper. Much of the electricity used by printers, especially laser printers, is from standby mode. Instead of printing so much, review drafts on the computer screen and share documents online using a cloud-based service such as Google Drive, DropBox, or SharePoint. Also, Energy Star printers have lower standby electricity use.
Lastly, you can simply buy less stuff. Buying less by purchasing only what you need means you are simply not participating in the culture of overconsumption common is many western societies and directly linked to our individual carbon footprint.
Using these few easy steps, you can make meaningful progress toward reducing your carbon footprint.