Reduce Emissions With These 10 Steps

Reduce Emissions With These 10 Steps

We can all do things in our daily lives to significantly impact our surrounding environment. The best part of this is that many of these alternatives can often feel like simple or minor changes, but that does not mean they can’t have long-lasting effects on the world around us.

Reducing emissions is both an individual and a community responsibility. It is important that each of us make necessary changes in how we live our daily lives, and also  work with each other to ensure a better, more secure future. Climate change is no longer an imminent threat; it is our current reality. The increase in natural disasters such as flooding in New York and wildfires in California are a direct result of climate change. 

The recent flooding in New York City was immensely devastating for several reasons. For one, it showed us a glimpse of the dangerous future that we will all have to reconcile with. The lack of established infrastructure to protect citizens in natural disasters was also a reason for the extreme devastation following these floods.  

From subway flooding to basement apartments becoming unlivable due to the influx of water, the floods went  a long way to show us how our future could look. On the (somewhat) bright side, events like these serve as a wake-up call, demanding us to come together and work simultaneously for change. We need to act now to prevent more damage from occurring to our planet. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, know you are not alone. Some of these concepts can seem somewhat abstract, so it is essential to convert them into tangible metrics and actions.  This is where the idea of a carbon footprint comes into play. What is a carbon footprint? We are so glad you asked.

What Is a Carbon Footprint?

In essence, a carbon footprint is how much carbon a corporation, organization, individual, or family emits due to their current activities. It is a more precise way  to quantify greenhouse gas emissions while also giving people concrete ways to lower (and hopefully eliminate) their negative impact.

Our hefty carbon footprint is only one of the driving factors behind worsening climate change, but it is substantial. We can take steps in multiple facets of our lives to diminish the harm we do to our planet. Luckily many of these steps work together in conjunction; stronger together than apart. 

For example, limiting our land use helps the environment in many ways. For one, that land is then allowed to recover from having its resources used up.

As that land continues to get better, trees will grow, and plants will thrive. Trees help us by cleaning the air that we breathe. They absorb carbon dioxide, water and sunlight to photosynthesize, releasing oxygen into the environment and our lungs. 

In addition, spending time inside during the summer months requires air conditioning to stay cool. However, spending more time outside in the shade trees makes for cooler conditions during the hot summer months, meaning the need for air conditioning can be limited and we can help both ourselves and the planet. 

Trees and plants also serve as homes for a variety of animal species that have been left stranded, so it is important to work against deforestation by planting as many trees as we can.

How Can We Reduce Our Carbon Emissions?

Now that we have established the tremendous importance of reducing our carbon emissions, let’s get into actionable ways to make a difference for our planet. 

It is important to remember that any change toward a more sustainable lifestyle is crucial and worthwhile. 

Even if you can’t commit entirely to an item on this list, these changes can also be performed in increments. Some change is infinitely better than no change at all, and as time goes on, you may find it easier and easier to add more sustainable practices to your life.

The most important thing is that you are aware of the many ways we can help our environment recover and understand the responsibility we all have to keep our planet healthy and liveable. Once you know that, putting these energy efficiency ideas into action becomes a much simpler process.

Embrace Public Transit

The first item on our list of how to reduce your energy consumption and emissions, is to utilize public transportation as often as possible. 

If you are in a city (well, maybe not Los Angeles), chances are, there are many public transit options at your fingertips waiting to be taken advantage of. From subways to trains to buses and more, there are so many different ways to get from point A to point B that may be even better than carpooling. However, if public transit doesn’t work for you, carpooling is significantly better for the planet than driving on your own. 

Utilizing Public transportation can eliminate 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere annually. 

Not only does using this option mean that you do not have to deal with traffic on the road, but as more people continue to switch over, it means that people who still have to drive are on the road for shorter periods. This results in fewer emissions while driving, in other words, less gas is being used.

If you are someone who cannot use public transportation either due to a lack of options in your area or other reasons, dont stress, there are still things you can do to help.

Buy an Electric Car

While using public transportation is a great option for mitigating the harm you do to the 

environment, it is not always an option for everyone. 

If that is the case for you, it may be time to look into an electric car. An electric car will not only save you a tremendous amount on gas, these cars are the gold standard in limiting energy and prioritizing efficiency.  If you are looking for a way to contribute to emissions reductions and still need a car, this is the way to go.

The world around us is providing more options for electric charging stations, but it is true that not every area has caught up. Access to sustainable means of fueling  will only get better as time goes on, but it is possible that you are not quite ready to convert to a vehicle that is 100 percent electric. If this is true for you, hybrid cars provide a good option as well. These vehicles run on both gas and electricity to help the environment and cut down on fuel costs for you. 

Cut Down on Air Travel

Next on our list, we want to highlight the importance of limiting air travel as much as possible. 

Planes burn a huge amount of fuel and give off tremendous GHG (GreenHouse Gas) emissions directly into the atmosphere. Aircrafts are not a wise or economical use of our fuel and energy, so it is best to look into any other options when possible.

If air travel is your only choice, opt for sustainable airlines or those that are dedicated to offsetting their carbon usage. Also make an effort to choose direct flights instead of making multiple stops to get to your destination (as if you need another reason to fly direct!).

Consume Less Meat

We touched on this one a little earlier when we mentioned how important a land-use change is for us and our planet, but consuming less meat has even more deep-rooted benefits for the environment. 

Besides the ethical dilemmas involved with mass production of animal products, livestock such as cows create immense methane emissions. Caring for livestock also requires much more water than caring for plants, and it also takes up substantial amounts of land, which is detrimental to forestry efforts.

Instead, if we all committed to cutting down on our meat consumption, we, the animals, and the environment would benefit in the long run. If you are not quite ready to give up meat entirely,you can start by reducing. 

Instead, consider an alternative such as “meatless Mondays,” or simply try to consume less meat during certain meals. It is better for your health and the planet’s health at large. Luckily, there is a myriad of delicious plant based meat options available in most grocery stores, restaurants, and even fast food chains. 

Start a Home Compost

If you have ever wondered if there’s a better way to dispose of your food waste, we have the answer. Starting a home compost pile or bin is the perfect way to get rid of food dirtying up the back of your refrigerator in an eco-friendly way and giving back to the earth.

Composting is the process where food scraps and other biodegradable components like coffee filters, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper, and cardboard decompose, eventually resulting in a material that farmers and gardeners covet due to it being one of the best fertilizers out there. And we’d personally rather have compost made from my food scraps fertilizing our gardens rather than manure!

If you do not have the space or garden to use your compost,look online for your local composting facility, they are always happy to take donations. This way, you are simultaneously adding less trash and waste to the world while also helping new food come into being.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Reducing, reusing, and recycling occurs during every stage of the production and consumption cycles. By reducing, you limit the amount you consume and purchase, decreasing the demand to produce. 

By reusing, you look at what you already have and determine if it is still functional, or if it could be upcycled, given new life, or given away to someone who could still use it. 

Recycling occurs when a product has reached the end of its life. Recycling, in this case, simply means any method of disposal that is biodegradable and will not add more waste.

Create an Energy-Efficient Home

Much of our energy use happens at home. From unplugging chargers when they aren’t charging, to swapping out non-energy efficient light bulbs, to turning lights off when you aren’t in the room, to installing solar panels, there are so many big and small ways we can help.

Stop Purchasing Single-Use Plastics

Single-use plastics are one of the biggest threats to our oceans. Not only do they pose a significant threat to marine life, they also harm our entire ecosystem. 

Use Vegan Products

Going back to how viewing animals as products harm our environment, it's not just consumption that can be detrimental. For ethical and planetary reasons, vegan and cruelty-free products are absolutely the way to go.

Shop Zero Waste

As sustainability becomes more and more crucial, companies like Bite are putting zero waste efforts at the forefront of their businesses. Being Zero Waste means that we do not contribute any waste to the environment, and it’s something we hope many more organizations start doing.


Innovation is no longer just a luxury; it is now a requirement to combat climate change. By utilizing clean energy, carbon offsets, renewable energy sources, and greatly limiting our carbon footprint, we can lower greenhouse gas emissions. Together, we can and must fight the effects of global warming before it is too late.



Climate Change & the Carbon Footprint | Footprint Network

How Does Public Transportation Help the Environment? | How Stuff Works

Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions | US EPA 

Why Plant Trees? | One Tree 

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