With the United States pulling out of the Paris Agreement, we are all asking ourselves what this means for the future of the planet. Experts warn that temperatures are set to rise by up to 14 degrees F by 2100. If that doesn’t make you worry about your carbon footprint, I don’t know what will!

So, why do we have such high carbon emissions?

USA is currently the second-highest carbon-emitting nation in the world. Within the United States, Texas has the highest emissions of greenhouse gasses, followed by California, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio. The states with the lowest carbon footprints are the ones which haven’t developed an industrial hub, such as DC, Vermont, Rhode Island, Delaware and New Hampshire. Reports publish that a whopping 29% of the total 6,587 Million Metric Tons comes from generating electricity, followed by 27% from transport and 21% from industrial sources.

polluted skyline of los angeles california

Air pollution in downtown Los Angeles

Source: usatoday.com

Concrete steps to reduce one’s carbon footprint

Scary numbers, huh? Does it make you wonder about your own contribution to that mess? The good news is, we have the power to help reverse this trend in two ways: Reducing emissions and offsetting them.

Transportation

Since 27% of our greenhouse gasses come from transport, the smartest way to make a dent in that number is to walk or ride a bicycle when possible, to use public transport when one needs to travel further, and to carpool when it isn’t possible to take public transport. If you’re looking at replacing your car soon, check out electric vehicles; apart from being insanely cool, they help with greenhouse gasses. Plan your drives when possible; idling in a traffic as well as speeding (Which reduces mileage by up to 33%) increase your carbon footprint. But the other big culprit in that number is air travel. To help with that, avoid flying when possible, fly less frequently, fly shorter distances, and fly economy class. If you can avoid a business trip by skyping or facetiming into a meeting, do it, and future generations will thank you for it.

 


Here’s a great video about the benefits of commuting in Los Angeles without a car. They go just beyond saving energy but even enriching your life experiences with deliberate choices.

Reduce your electricity consumption

And given the appalling amount that power plants pollute the planet, reducing electricity consumption around the house is a great move. Insulate the house well, so you can keep your heating bills down. Don’t set the thermostat too high or low and install a Smart Thermostat  which will off the heat/air conditioning when you’re not home. Opt for Smart Lighting; which switches itself off or dims itself when it isn’t needed. Whenever you’re buying a new appliance, look for the Energy Star mark; that bad boy will help with the electricity consumption. And how about using your roof to produce electricity? Install photovoltaic panels and harness that clean, green, abundant solar energy.

 

Eat Right for the Planet

How else can you help? Well, how about with the food you eat? Eat locally-produced organic food, which will reduce the fossil fuel used in fertilizers, in transport and storage. Reduce or eliminate beef and dairy, which will save the resources it takes to raise cows.

Carbon Offsetting

Apart from all those easy little adjustments you can make to reduce emissions, you can also help offset your carbon emissions as well. You could donate to environmental projects, often in developing countries, and buy carbon credits on that basis.

Here’s a video explain what we are talking about:


Curious about how a Carbon Offset or Emission Trading work? Watch to find out.

The aim of many individuals and organisations is to be carbon-neutral, so their emissions are all reabsorbed. Want to do a bit yourself and have a patch of land? You’ll find some handy tools on the internet that will help you calculate how many trees you’d need to plant to offset your carbon footprint.

See? It’s really not that impossible to live a carbon-neutral life. It will take a few readjustments, but it is totally doable. So it doesn’t matter if we have pulled out of the Paris Accord, Americans can still pledge to each do their bit individually for a better future for the planet.


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