For quite some time, the state of the environment has been a major source of concern for conservationists and consumers. Global warming and pollution have caused many adverse effects such as sea level rise, increased frequency of storms and public health concerns. Obviously, the environment is in a state of crisis. The question is, how can you contribute to its replenishment and restoration? By shrinking your carbon footprint. Your carbon footprint refers to your contribution to the emission of greenhouse gases - most prevalently carbon dioxide, also known as CO2. There are many ways you can reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions you produce on a regular basis.

1. Drive Less

In November 2017, cars become the top source of greenhouse gases. A study by Lund University and the University of British Columbia estimated that not driving for a year could decrease carbon dioxide emissions by about 2.6 tons. Therefore, if you drive less often, you can reduce your carbon footprint by a significant amount.

Of course, you need transportation to get around. Luckily, there are other options such as walking, using public transportation or riding a bike to your destination. Unfortunately, it isn't realistic to avoid driving altogether. When you do drive, there are many things you can do to make your trip more friendly to the environment. For example, by reducing cruise control on long rides, you'll not only save gas, but also reduce emissions. You can also decrease your use of air conditioning to keep emissions down. Carpooling is another way to reduce emissions because multiple people are using one vehicle to get to their destination, thereby, splitting emissions between them.

2. Conserve Water

Did you know using water requires energy? Much of this energy is produced by fossil fuels (i.e. oil, coal, natural gas, etc.), which aren't good for the environment and emit unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide. This means that if you learn how to conserve water, you can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. There are various ways you can reduce your water usage. For example, when you brush your teeth, cut off the water until it's time to rinse. Also, take shorter showers and avoid flushing items to dispose of them. By doing these things, you're saving yourself from wasting gallons of water.

3. Reduce Energy Usage

The electricity you use to do laundry, watch TV, cook (if you have an electric stove) and heat your home uses up a good amount of energy. Some of the energy you're using might be unnecessary and can be greatly reduced. You'll not only see significant savings in your energy bill, but you'll also get satisfaction out of reducing your carbon footprint. Below are a variety of changes you can make to reduce the amount of energy you use in your home:

  • Wash your clothes in cold water. Hot water uses more energy. Therefore, using cold water to wash your clothes can save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

  • Use LED lights. LED lights use less energy and last longer than incandescent lights.

  • Use solar energy. By installing solar panels on your roof, you can reduce the amount of electricity you're using in your home and therefore, decrease energy usage.

  • Turn down your water heater. Because it takes energy to heat your water, reducing the temperature of your water heater can save large amounts of CO2.

  • Use less electricity. From turning off lights when you leave a room to unplugging your electronic devices when you're not using them, you'll greatly reduce how much electricity you use. Simply using less electricity can greatly reduce your carbon footprint.

If you want to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you produce through your day-to-day activities, follow these simple tips. Not only will you be saving money through less energy usage, but you'll also be helping conserve your environment.