How I Reduced My Carbon Dioxide Emissions

9/4/10 by Gordo

Photo courtesy Adam Sofen via Flickr

The media always warns us about how we need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to save the world from its impending doom, but few people actually do anything about it.  I, on the other hand, felt the urge to do something, after watching a heartbreaking documentary about the effects of global warming on the planet.

So, last year, I set a challenge for myself to reduce my carbon footprint.   My carbon dioxide emissions probably weren’t reduced overnight, but gradually, I learned how much energy goes into producing the things I take for granted and I was able to make permanent lifestyle changes over a few months’ time.

It’s actually not as hard as you might think to make your lifestyle more eco-friendly.  In fact, it was far more difficult for me to stop eating sweets and lose weight than it was to go green and reduce my carbon dioxide emissions.

Now, there’s no need to do something as drastic as move into a hut in the middle of the woods and subsist on rainwater and insects to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle.  This is what I did to reduce carbon dioxide emissions without giving up the creature comforts that are near and dear to me:

Replace Light Bulbs

I switched all my regular light bulbs in my home to compact fluorescent bulbs.  Since the bulbs emit yellow light, you’d never know the difference, unless you checked my electricity bill.

Buy Rechargeable Batteries

My son has lots of toys, so we go through many batteries.  Our cameras and remote controls also need new batteries on a constant basis.   Although rechargeable batteries are more expensive initially, they can be used over and over, so you don’t have to buy brand new ones all the time.

Get a Water Filter

Getting a water filter installed on my water faucet is probably the best move I ever made. I no longer buy bottled water, which is really great for the environment, considering the fact that bottles have to be manufactured, filled, and then shipped across the country.

Use a Travel Coffee Mug

Starbucks alone disposes of billions of paper cups each year and as you could probably imagine, manufacturing and recycling those cups leads to a dramatic increase in carbon dioxide emissions.  Although I am trying to cut back on Starbucks runs for the sake of my pocketbook, in the meantime, I take my own travel coffee mug to get my java fix to avoid paper cups.  If everyone used travel coffee mugs when they bought coffee, it would make a huge impact on our society’s carbon footprint.

Hang the Laundry Outside

Using a dryer is more convenient, but it requires loads of electricity.  And besides, nothing beats the smell of sheets that have dried in the fresh spring air.  An added perk of drying laundry outside is that your clothes will last longer.  Dryers cause your clothing to shrink and wear out more quickly.

Buy Local Produce

When you buy food locally, you reduce the amount of fuel required to get your food to you.  I’ve found that local farmers’ markets are excellent places to shop for food because of the abundance of delicious, locally-grown produce and the plentiful opportunities to socialize.

Use a Bike

Getting more exercise never hurts, so why not bike to work, the mall, etc.?  Commuting by bike reduces exhaust fumes and helps you stay in shape.

There are plenty of ways to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions with little effort; all it takes is some flexibility and the desire to make a difference.  Even making these minor changes to your lifestyle can make your carbon footprint much smaller in the long run!

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