Carbon Footprint Reduction Tips For A Brighter Future

Sustainable Living Tips to Offset Your Carbon Footprint

We can no longer deny it, our planet is warming. The rise in our global carbon footprint, the main driver of global warming, is now the biggest single threat facing our generation. 

The Earth’s average temperature has risen by more than 1.6 degrees since the early 20th century, a figure that has rapidly accelerated over the past two decades as humans continue to add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Climate change is not just limited to the increasing average temperatures, but also catastrophic weather patterns, rising seas and the displacement of wildlife populations across the globe.

What can you do to help? There are some simple lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your carbon footprint, but it requires a collective effort. 

Shop local to minimise your carbon footprint

Did you know that palm oil production is the cause of 40% of the deforestation in the world? For those unaware, deforestation is the 3rd largest contributor to the growing carbon footprint due to the amount of carbon released by forests into the atmosphere as they burn (the world’s forests absorb almost one third of the world’s CO2 in our atmosphere).

Why such demand for palm oil? Because it’s cheap, that’s why.  Everyday supermarket items like potato crisps and beauty products contain palm oil often disguised as vegetable oil or emulsifiers.

How can you help?

You can reduce your carbon footprint by skipping the supermarket and buying from local producers, farmers markets or by simply reading the label. Look for organic products that don’t use palm oil, which will be clearly labelled. It’s all about being conscious of what you’re buying.

What to eat for a healthier planet

While carbon dioxide is typically painted as the bad boy of greenhouse gases, methane from livestock farming is roughly 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas. In Australia about 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and two thirds of agricultural emissions come from methane produced by cattle and sheep. As they graze, livestock belch methane into the air which then warms our atmosphere as it rises. 

How can you help?

Try changing your diet to minimise your meat and dairy consumption to once per week, replacing it with balanced servings of unrefined whole-foods, fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins such as tofu or tempeh.

Rethinking your food choices is not only better for planetary health and animal welfare, but has been shown to prevent and even reverse chronic diseases. Check out this Healthy Food Pyramid by Plant Proof for more information.

Read more: A Healthy Eating Guide That’s Good For You & The Planet

Be aware of your carbon footprint when you travel

Most of us have now started to consider our impact on the environment in our day-to-day lives, but when it comes to responsible travel it’s often easy to overlook the carbon footprint we leave behind.

How can you help?

Flying is responsible for a hefty chunk of our global carbon emissions. If you are a frequent flyer but hate the guilt of a big carbon footprint, you can calculate your impact and make a voluntary donations to various carbon offset programs that help fund reforestation and environmental projects around the world.

When choosing a sustainable hotel, you will need to do your research as there is no universal green rating system. Green Getaways is a great resource for narrowing down the selection though, featuring Australian hotels making a genuine effort to minimise their environmental impact.

Making the decision to walk or ride a bike instead of hopping in the car when you just need to go down the road is a great way to reduce your personal carbon footprint. z

Read more: Travel Luggage Tips For A More Sustainable Holiday

Go off grid and experience nature

We all need power in our lives, however we are too reliant on coal to produce it. As city dwellers, we are using way more energy than we need, which has resulted in an environmental emergency. 

But as we become more mindful of our social connections, and our carbon footprint, the option to trade the concrete and metal of city life for a dose of crisp mountain air has never been more enticing.

How can you help?

Try reducing your electricity usage by replacing those outdated appliances that are driving up your power bills each month, as there’s a good chance they are not very eco-friendly. Consider limiting your use of washing machines, dryers and air conditioners to just a few times per week.

If you have the financial means, making an investment in solar energy batteries will not only help you save money on your next electricity bill, but will cut your reliance on coal powered energy which in turn helps us shift towards a greener future. 

Go one step further by escaping the city all together for a unique wilderness experience in a tiny house or off grid cabin designed to help you unplug from city life, and re-connect you with the environment.

Offset your carbon footprint

Forests cover roughly one third of our planet – but they are disappearing at an alarming rate. Trees are vital to the future of the planet as they absorb carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases that we as humans emit.

We lose trees at a rate of 50 soccer fields per minute as our food systems destroy our ecosystems.

Trees for the Future (TREES) is an international development nonprofit that meets a triple bottom line by planting trees: poverty alleviation, hunger eradication, and healing the environment. 

How can you help?

You can offset your carbon footprint by planting trees through the Trees.org Forest Garden Program. The Program trains farmers to plant and manage Forest Gardens that sustainably feed families, raise their incomes by 400 percent, and end deforestation.

Vote for reliable leaders

Last but certainly not least, major changes cannot be enforced without the help of our political leaders. They are the voice of Australia. Research your parties and pick one that is fighting for the people and the environment, not just the money.

You can check how your views on climate and the environment align with those of the candidates running for election here.

Need more inspiration?

From weekend travel inspiration, conscious brands to shop and farm to table dining spots; to sustainable living news and wellbeing essentials – This Weekend is the first sustainable living guide for millennials.