You may or may not know that we are in the business of planting trees. Planting trees has many advantages: We create jobs for people in need, habitat for endangered species, and as a mega bonus trees are a miracle weapon in the fight against climate change.
Planting trees is a big help but unfortunately, it’s not enough to stop increasing temperatures.
Yes, we can point fingers at politicians and big corporations that are creating more and more greenhouse gases but we have to understand that we – the consumer – have a lot of power as well. Through our individual and collective choices we can influence big companies.
If we want to save the planet, we have to make better choices and reduce our own carbon footprint.
Find out what the carbon footprint is, why it’s a problem and the ways to reduce carbon footprint – in 7 easily implementable hacks – right here.
- 1 The Importance of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
- 2 What is the carbon footprint?
- 3 Why Are Trees Not Enough
- 4 The Ways to Reduce Carbon Footprint – 7 Hacks
- 5 We’re All in This Together
You want to jump straight to the hacks? Simply click here.
The Importance of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
The Paris Agreement
No, this has nothing to do with croissants or the Eiffel Tower. 190 countries, in addition to the European Union, have joined the Paris Agreement. An international treaty in which participating countries commit to reducing their emissions while also working on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate Change and Increasing Temperatures
One of the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and therefore limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees celsius by 2100.¹
You might wonder why this is bad. Isn’t warmer weather a good thing?
Not really, as an increase of temperature means more extreme weather events from heat waves to storms and floods. It is expected that with an increase of 2 degrees celsius most of our coral reefs will disappear² and water levels will rise to the point where people will have to leave their beloved homes on the coasts and move further inland. Some islands are said to go under completely.
Sounds bad, doesn’t it? But if you know us, you know we are more of the “good news” kind of people. We don’t want you to get into panic mode just yet. We can still change things around and limit the temperature increase.
Before we tell you about the easy implementable hacks to reduce your carbon footprint, let’s look at what the carbon footprint is.
What is the carbon footprint?
The carbon footprint is used to identify the impact of an activity, person or a country on climate change.
Take a look around you right now. All the things you see are part of your carbon footprint: Your clothes, phone, dinner, and and and.
Before these things landed inside your house, they went on a journey from sourcing to production to transportation.
The way you consume, determines how high or low your carbon footprint is.
To have the best chances of achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, scientists and researchers say, we need to decrease our individual carbon footprint to 2 tons. To put things into perspective, the average carbon footprint for a person from the United States is 16 tons, from the UK 12 tons and from Germany it’s 9 tons.¹
Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to move into a cave without electricity, give up traveling and grow all your food in your backyard. You just have to make smarter choices.
Why Are Trees Not Enough
Before we share the 7 hacks with you, let’s uncover why trees are a great weapon against climate change but why planting trees is not enough to save the planet.
As a tree grows, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air through a process called photosynthesis. It stores the carbon as wood and releases oxygen molecules. For this reason, forests act like a giant filter. They remove the greenhouse gas from the air and only disperse it back into the air if they are burned, or decomposed back into the earth.
A while ago there was a nice cycle of greenhouse gases being absorbed by our forests. Nowadays, the increasing CO2 emissions are tipping the scale. Unfortunately, our human activities are at a level where our forests can only capture a small percentage of our emissions. Leading to more CO2 in the air and therefore an accelerated climate change.³
Ready to save the planet? Then let’s stop wasting time, here are the 7 easily implementable steps to reduce your carbon footprint.
The Ways to Reduce Carbon Footprint – 7 Hacks
1. Shop locally
Rule of thumb here is the longer your food has travelled to get to you the worse it is for the environment. Get your groceries from your local farmer or farmers market. The great thing about it is that the food is fresh and tastes a lot better since it will most likely be seasonal.
If you don’t have access to a farmer’s market, you can simply make smarter choices when grocery shopping. For example, Instead of going for the plastic wrapped produce, choose loose fruits and vegetables.
Pssst…I know about your little secret. I know that there is a space in your kitchen cabinet with several plastic bags stuffed into one. And that’s okay, but let’s start bringing a reusable bag when you go shopping. It’s an easy hack to reduce plastic waste as well.
2. Travel Green
The best option is to reduce transport emissions by choosing a destination that isn’t too far, but if you’re keen to travel abroad look at eco-friendly destinations.⁴
Destinations that you can reach via trains or busses are a great option. If you do fly, choose nonstop flights as they take you the most direct way. In addition, take-off and landing actually create the most emissions on your whole plane ride.
Did you know that you can plant a tree when you book a trip? More information about B’n’Tree here.
3. Drive Less
We’re not telling you to get rid of your car because we know that this is not a possibility for everybody. But, there are other options to reduce your carbon footprint. Carpool with colleagues, take the public transportation on the weekend, ride the bike to work. Every time you take an alternative to riding the car, you help the environment.
And no, even though it’s quite popular at the moment, jets and rockets to planet mars are not the alternative we are talking about.
4. Check what you have before you buy something new
Many of the things we have at home can be used in many different ways, get creative and use what you already have.
I’m sure shiny object syndrome caught us all at least once in our life. Let’s make sure it doesn’t get us again. Next time you want to buy something, ask yourself whether you have something at home that you can use.
5. Turn your back on fast fashion
Some brands are releasing new designs at the speed of lightning. You just have to blink once and boom! there is a new shirt to buy. Unfortunately it’s no surprise that many perfectly fine pieces of clothing land on the landfill or rot in a warehouse.
My personal tip: Don’t go window shopping! Seriously, if you can’t see it, you can’t buy it.
I understand that sometimes you have to replace your shirt that looks like a piece of swiss cheese. Great alternatives to fast fashion shops are second hand shops and sustainable brands.
6. Got water?
Water is a valuable source and if you have an unlimited supply then you can count yourself as lucky! But this is not the only reason why you should use water carefully. The more water you use, the more emissions you create.
Emissions are not only created when we move water into our homes but also when we heat it up for our daily shower.
Don’t let water run for no reason. Make sure to turn off your water while brushing your teeth or soaping up your body in the shower.
Bonus hack for the extra hard ones: Decrease your carbon footprint by showering with cold water.
Remember, you’re only as strong as your mind. At least that’s what my fortune cookie from last night’s dinner said.
7. Sleep Mode? More like half awake
You can compare sleep mode with your night’s sleep. Your eyes are closed, you are not awake BUT you are still breathing. (I hope) When you turn your appliances to sleep mode they are still running and therefore still creating CO2.
One of the easiest ways to cut your carbon footprint is by turning off your electric devices that you’re not using. Especially if you’re going on holiday.
We’re All in This Together
(Did you sing song this headline? Then you have just outed yourself as Zac Efron fan. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you might have to put on your reading glasses, grandparent)
Jokes aside. We have the power to change things. These 7 easy implementable hacks will help you make better choices and cut your carbon footprint.
The change doesn’t seem so overwhelming anymore, right? And you don’t have to implement them all at once, just start with one hack and try it out for a week. Then choose a different hack the following week and so on.
And at the end of the day, doesn’t it feel good to know you’re doing something good?