Yogi Times polled experts of all ages in the field of green living and sustainability to bring you some tips for how to make your life and the planet a little greener.
Reducing your carbon footprint is do-able; it”™s about making changes in how you live your day-to-day life. Even small changes, like reducing the amount of driving you do, can make a huge impact in the environment.
Live in Los Angeles? You can meet all of these experts below and hear them speak at the Green Festival, the largest sustainability event in the nation, taking in place in Los Angeles, California, October 29th and 30th, 2011.
- Among the three largest sources of greenhouse gases are: vehicle emissions, factory farming, buildings.
- To reduce your carbon footprint: reduce driving, reduce meat consumption, and take in a housemate.
- Eat local. Your backyard or patio is a good place to start with a garden. It’s lettuce and broccoli planting time in Southern California.
- Help someone else eat local. Support a school garden. DonorsChoose has plenty to choose from.
- Make your home more energy efficient. Take advantage of rebate programs to have your home sealed, insulated and upgraded. Reducing your energy consumption can cut your home’s greenhouse gas production nearly in half, plus lower your monthly bills and make your home more comfortable year-round! Rebates of up to $8,000 are available through Energy Upgrade California and similar programs exist in many states. Visit energyupgradeca.org/lacounty to learn more. Not in Los Angeles? Check out the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency website for tips on how to make your use of fossil fuels and alternative energy more efficient.
- Reduce your personal vehicle’s high-GHG (greenhouse gas) fuel consumption by taking public transit whenever possible, switching to alternative transportation fuel(s), combining errands into one trip, encouraging your workplace to implement work-from-home days and telecommuting, and finding more fun things to do in your local community rather than far away from home.
- If you have a car, destroy it by cutting off the top, fill it with dirt and plant food in it.
- Have fun on a bicycle!
- Don’t only plant trees, but teach others in your community how they can plant their own.
- Take public transportation whenever possible, not only will you cut your carbon footprint, but you’ll save money on parking and gas!
- Consumption choices: eating local + organic helps in a multitude of ways, from supporting local economy (farmers) to reducing the emissions of transporting produce from afar, to better health, to less packaging on products.
- Reusable mindset: bring your own bag to the grocery store, and carry your own coffee cup to your local coffee shop. This reduces the number of plastic/paper bags and disposable paper cups.
- Start a garden in your backyard, apartment balcony, or front yard. Growing your own local veggies will not only be good for the planet, but good for your body.
- Participate in Meatless Mondays. Committing to eating plant-based diets at least once a week will do wonders for the planet!
- Convert your home to clean, solar energy! The average solar home saves 7.4 tons of CO2 per year””more than you would save if you completely stopped driving.
- Eat less meat! Decreasing your consumption of meat””especially beef””is a great way to decrease your output of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
- Grow some of your own food. No matter where you live, you can grow some of your own food. You don’t have to have a huge plot of land or any land at all. On average, our food travels about 1,500 miles and is treated with all kinds of sprays and chemicals. By growing your own, you are cutting down on the transportation of the food and the use of toxic chemicals. Growing one plant will make a difference.
- Buy your food from local growers. You don’t have to buy all of it from local growers, but buy as much as you can. Again this will cut down on the transportation resources and most small-scale local growers don’t use chemicals.
- While recycling gets all the press, don’t forget to reduce and reuse also. Reusing alone can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint. Have you seen how many awesome things you can use an Altoids tin for?
- Sharing really is caring! By lending out your household items to neighbors and friends, you really cut down on waste and expended energy. Did you know, the average power drill is only used for 15 minutes in its lifetime? Let’s start a Sharing Economy, it will be like Zipcar for your stuff!
- Take an environmental footprint quiz. Many of us have no idea of the impact of our lifestyle so the quiz, which is easy to find online, can help you undertand all of your carbon impact. The quizzes usually end with simple steps you can take in many areas of your life, so this one action can give you several simple options for follow up!
- Attempt to cook 75 to 80% of your food at home using the least amount of packaged products as possible. This can improve your health, cut down on plastic use and other carbon based packaging, help you have a healthier lifestyle and possibly even help you shop more locally for fresh ingredients!
The Green Festival is a project of Green America and Global Exchange, celebrating what’s working in our communities and around the world””for people, business and the environment. It”™s sure to be an educational and fun time, with more than 125 renowned authors, leaders and educators; great how-to workshops; cutting-edge films; activities for kids; delicious vegetarian cuisine and live music.
Thank you to all the experts and special thanks to Dania Jimenez, Green Festivals Publicist, for helping to bring these helpful tips together.