Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the earth's surface caused by greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels or deforestation, which retain heat that is otherwise would escape the earth. Fortunately, there are many steps that everyone on earth can take to help lessen the effects of global warming. Plus, it's never too late or early for kids or young adults to take action.
Part 1 of 6: Know your carbon footprint
Step 1. Know what a carbon footprint is
A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon and greenhouse gases that you use by going about your daily life and doing your usual activities. In other words, your carbon footprint is the measure of the environmental impact that your life has. You must have the smallest carbon footprint possible to live a life that takes care of the environment and does not contribute to global warming.
- The idea is to have a zero or neutral carbon footprint.
- Of all the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide accounts for up to 26% of them, which is why people are concerned about reducing their carbon footprint.
Step 2. Find out what contributes to your carbon footprint
Almost everything we do that contributes to global warming is related to burning fossil fuels. This can be the direct use of fossil fuels, such as driving a gasoline car; or indirect contributions to greenhouse gases, such as eating fruits or vegetables that had to be shipped from a distant place to reach your table.
Most of the main elements that contribute to our carbon footprint come from the indirect use of coal, natural gas, and oil. These include meat consumption, electricity consumption, personal transportation (such as driving a car or flying an airplane), commercial transportation (such as trucks, ships, and airplanes), and the use of plastic
Step 3. Identify your carbon footprint
Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming; Therefore, if you know your carbon footprint, this can tell you to what extent your lifestyle contributes to global warming and climate change. Use one of the many calculators available to identify the impact of your lifestyle.
Part 2 of 6: Decrease Your Direct Use of Fossil Fuels
Step 1. Choose alternative transportation methods
Personal vehicles such as cars are responsible for about a fifth of emissions in the US Choose an alternative method of getting around if you want to have a significant effect on your carbon footprint and decrease your contributions to global warming. Instead of traveling by car or having them drive you to the park, school, your friend's house, and elsewhere, try the following:
- walk or jog
- ride a bike or skateboard
Step 2. Use public transportation
Trains and buses typically use fossil fuels, but produce less pollution and require less energy than the various personal vehicles they replace. The next time you have to go into town and it's too far to walk or bike, take the bus or other public transportation, instead of asking for a car ride.
Step 3. Organize a carpool
Kids who aren't close enough to walk and don't have a bus service can organize carpooling with the parents of friends who attend the same school. Instead of four parents driving a car each to take the kids to school, they can take turns every day or every week picking up and dropping off all the kids, which means there will be 3 fewer cars on the road.
He also recommends carpooling with friends for other activities, such as sports games and practices, after-school activities, lessons, and social events
Step 4. Talk to your parents about the option of buying a hybrid or electric car
Driving a car that doesn't consume gasoline or diesel can drastically lower your carbon footprint, as this will lower your fossil fuel consumption and emissions, and lower emissions from production, processing, and distribution. fuel.
- Hybrid and electric cars tend to be more expensive than their conventional counterpart; therefore, this may not be an option for many families.
- Keep in mind that if the electricity you use comes from a fossil fuel, driving a car loaded with that electricity may not reduce your carbon footprint.
Part 3 of 6: Conserve energy and water
Step 1. Turn off the lights
Turn off lights when leaving a room if no one else is in the room. You should also turn off electronic devices, such as television, radio, computer, and other devices.
Step 2. Unplug electronics
Unplug all electronic devices that will not be used during the day when you leave home for school. Many devices continue to consume power even when they are turned off. This includes the following devices:
- televisions and radios
- cell phone chargers
- microwaves and other appliances with clock
Step 3. Turn off the water
Turn off the taps when you brush your teeth and when you lather your hands in the sink, when you wash the dishes in the sink, and when you lather in the shower. Also, use less hot water when you shower or wash dishes, as it takes a lot of energy to heat the water.
Step 4. Keep doors and windows closed
If you use a heating or cooling system in your home during the summer or winter, be sure to close all the doors, and don't leave the windows open. Hot or cold air will escape quickly, and your heater or air conditioner will have to work harder and consume more energy to maintain a constant temperature.
Step 5. Use your blinds and curtains
In the winter, open your blinds during the day to allow solar energy to heat your home. Close them again when the sun goes down to prevent cold air from entering. In the summer, keep your curtains closed during the day to prevent the solar energy from heating up your home further.
Step 6. Get involved in activities that don't require electricity
Most of the electricity generated in the United States comes from fossil fuels; Therefore, if you use less energy, you can reduce your carbon footprint. Instead of watching TV, playing computer games, or playing video games, try the following activities:
- To play outdoors
- play board-games
- spending time with friends in person
Step 7. Take a green approach to housework
There are many positive eco-friendly ways you can change when you do housework, such as only using the dishwasher and washing machine when they have a full load, washing clothes in cold water, and hanging clothes to dry instead of use the tumble dryer.
Ask the rest of your family to adopt these practices as well
Part 4 of 6: offset your carbon footprint
Step 1. Plant a tree
Mature trees consume approximately 22 kg (48 lb) of carbon dioxide each year, which they convert into the oxygen we breathe. Additionally, trees planted near your home create shade and windbreaks that reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter.
Planting deciduous trees will provide shade in the summer, and when they lose their leaves in the fall, they will allow the natural heat of the sun to warm your home
Step 2. Plant a garden
The further your food has to travel to get to your table, the bigger your carbon footprint. While vegetables rank behind meats and dairy products in terms of greenhouse gas production, they still must travel to get to the markets where you buy them, and this requires fossil fuels. By growing your own garden, you will decrease your greenhouse gas contributions and provide the planet with more carbon dioxide-consuming plants.
Step 3. Use fewer products, reuse and recycle
You've probably heard this saying, but you may not have realized that this mantra can actually lower your carbon footprint! Recycling is an energy-intensive process, but it is still better than having to produce a package from scratch. Reusing products is even better, as it will reduce waste, the energy needed to recycle and your consumption.
- Reuse products by transforming old containers, clothing, and household items. For example, collect cans to create a bottle holder that you can give to your parents.
- Recycle cans, bottles, jars, tetra pack containers, containers, and anything else that your local recycling center accepts.
- Reuse and refill items like ink cartridges and pens.
- Instead of always buying a new bottle of soap, refill the one you have.
- Shop at thrift stores, rather than buying new clothes and household items.
Step 4. Compost
The amount of energy and fuel required to transport organic matter to a waste center (if your community does not have a compost production service) will contribute to your carbon footprint. In addition, organic matter does not decompose properly in this type of environment, so it is much better to compost yourself. In addition to reducing the amount of waste you send to landfills, you will have homemade soil to plant and fertilize your garden.
Part 5 of 6: Be a Conscious Consumer
Step 1. Use less paper
Products made from paper contribute to global warming because their production requires the use of fossil fuels, and the trees that would have trapped the carbon dioxide will no longer be there to do so. You can reduce your paper consumption by making a few simple changes like the following:
- Don't print the emails if you don't have to.
- Use the library or read e-books instead of buying printed books.
- Obtain electronic receipts and ask stores not to print receipts for you.
- Ask your parents to buy recycled paper products, such as face wipes, toilet paper, and writing and printing paper.
- Scan the books instead of photocopying them.
- Send e-cards instead of paper ones.
Step 2. Don't buy bottled water
Most of the municipalities provide totally safe drinking water; therefore, it is usually not necessary to buy bottled water in North America. However, consumers love this convenient and portable product, even if it takes 3 L of water to produce 1 L of bottled water, and millions of barrels of oil to make the bottles, caps and packaging needed to satisfy demand alone. of North American consumers.
If your parents buy bottled water, ask them to stop. Even if they don't, you can choose to use a reusable glass or metal canteen, which you can refill with tap water or filtered water
Step 3. Don't use products that have excessive packaging
Most of the packaging used in North America is more dedicated to advertising and publicity stunts than to product preservation or consumer safety. Most of these packaging are made of plastic, which means that fossil fuels will have been used to create them, and much of it cannot be recycled. If you refuse to buy products that have excessive packaging, you will lower your carbon footprint and signal to businesses that their methods are not acceptable.
Part 6 of 6: Encourage your friends and family to take action
Step 1. Talk to your family about how they can help
Sometimes there are actions that you cannot do without the help of the people you love. Ask your parents to help you make a difference by implementing new family policies and practices.
- Ask your parents to adjust the thermostat a few degrees so the heater or air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard.
- Explain to your parents that compact fluorescent bulbs will use 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs, saving energy and money.
- Remind them to use their reusable cups when having coffee on the go.
Step 2. Visit farmers markets
Most cities have local farmers markets. If you visit them with your friends and family, this can be a great way to support your local community, teach everyone the importance of shopping locally (to use less greenhouse gases when transporting food to your table), and look for fresh and delicious vegetable products for your meals.
Don't forget to take your reusable shopping bags to the farmer's market and the grocery store
Step 3. Choose fresh, loose fruits and vegetables
The container that is used to wrap fruits, vegetables and pre-prepared meals is usually made of plastic; and plastic requires the use of fossil fuels. You may have to get used to it for a while, but you can leave the grocery store without carrying excessive packaging. Remember that cooking can take time, so offer to help your parents prepare meals that use fresh ingredients. This will save them time, teach you how to cook, and encourage your parents to buy fresh produce more often.
- Buy whatever you can in bulk (rather than prepackaged servings), such as grains, flours, pasta, and spices.
- Buy loose plant products, like individual carrots, instead of prepackaged fruits and vegetables.
Step 4. Ask your parents to serve more vegetarian or vegan meals
Meat and dairy production accounts for about 18% of global emissions, and eliminating these products from your diet completely would cut your food-related carbon footprint in half. Encouraging your parents to eat less meat and dairy will be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.