Now it is time to talk about the most important aspect of carbon emissions and global climate change:
What YOU can do to help!
Here are five real world steps you can take today to reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Replace your outdated incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CF) or LED bulbs. This is especially important in Utah where nearly all of our electricity is generated by equally outdated fossil fuels:
You are paying for it, you might as well use it!
3. When you are driving, try to choose a fuel efficient car and make sure its tires are inflated properly. As we saw in the last post, the fuel efficiency of your vehicle has an enormous impact on your carbon footprint. Each time you fill up with gas, check your tire pressure while you are waiting. Under-inflated tires greatly reduce your fuel efficiency.
If you participate in outdoor activities in Utah, you may find a four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle advantageous. Instead of a large truck or SUV, consider a small wagon or compact SUV, which get better mileage. If you don't actually need four-wheel-drive, a small, fuel efficient car is one of the best ways to drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Besides, who wants to look like a fool driving to the grocery store for a couple bags of groceries in a giant, empty 4x4 pick-up truck?
4. Install a programmable thermostat in your home. Energy used to heat a home is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
5. The simplest and most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is to just not buy and use so much stuff in the first place! Many of the products we use are made of plastic, transported across the country or around the globe, used a few times and then discarded. One of the smartest ways to reduce this waste is to purchase quality products with a longer service life. Buying cheap, disposable goods over and over again pollutes the environment and the atmosphere every step of the way. Reconsider purchases and ask yourself these questions: do I really need this item? Am I saving a couple bucks in the short run, only to spend more buying a replacement when this one breaks? Can I find this item used in the local classifieds or Craigslist?
Remember the "three Rs" in this order of importance from highest to lowest: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
There you have it: five simple steps to reducing your carbon footprint, making our planet just a little healthier, and keeping the world's coral reefs alive and healthy!