India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases and accounts for 6.8% of the total global emissions.
It’s time for us to take action. Play your part in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions! But before we talk about how you can do this, let’s cover the basics —
What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of the actions of a person or group of people. These greenhouses gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases. Among them, carbon dioxide (C02) is most commonly emitted by humans.
Why does it matter?
The release of CO2 and other gases traps heat in the atmosphere. This trapped heat ultimately leads to global warming.
Climate change is real, and we can feel it now more than ever! As residents of this planet, it’s something we all need to take responsibility for. Take a step back and calculate your carbon footprint using this simple calculator. Once you have an estimate of the amount of carbon emissions you’re creating, start making changes. However small or big these changes may be, you will make a difference.
A wonderful outcome of making these changes is that it creates a ripple effect. When your friends, family, and others watch you, they may be encouraged to make changes of their own.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are 8 things you can do to bring down your carbon footprint:
1. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose & Recycle! — The Five R’s of Waste Management can help you make a big difference with simple practices.
I. Refuse — Learn to refuse at the source. Whether it’s a plastic bag, or a straw — refuse, refuse, refuse! This may take a little time to get used to, but over time you’ll find yourself doing it without thinking.
II. Reduce — Reduce the use of products that are harmful or non-recyclable. The first thing to do is to reduce the use of single-use plastics & disposables.
Then there are products we use regularly that seem completely harmless but aren’t so. Keep yourself informed about all the products you use on a daily basis and find better options. For e.g., Did you know that there are many face washes and body washes in the market that have plastic in them?
III. Reuse — Reuse items instead of throwing them away! Single-use plastics are everywhere, and they encourage use-and-throw behaviour. Find reusable alternatives, and make the switch!
IV. Repurpose — If something can’t be refused, reduced or reused, then ask yourself if you can repurpose it. Repurposing or upcycling will not only create less waste. It can also be a fun activity to do with friends or family! There are thousands of repurposing videos and how-to guides that you can find online.
V. Recycle — Finally, make an effort to recycle. Instead of sending all your waste to landfills, keep your recyclables aside. Then, look for a recycling service in your city, and get started today!
2. Choose Greener Modes of Transport — Transportation is one of the biggest contributors to Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Instead of driving, choose to walk, cycle, or use public transportation. Download the Tummoc App to find the efficient routes for your commute. Here, we give you options using a combination of different modes of transportation.
If you must drive, then carpool with colleagues or friends going to the same destination! Also, make sure to get your vehicle serviced regularly. Learn all about Green Commuting here.
Finally, avoid flying! Airplanes create large amounts of carbon emissions. When you’re travelling longer distances, choose to travel by trains and buses if you can. Taking even one flight can make a huge difference to your carbon footprint. If you must fly, then choose non-stop flights. The more landings & takeoffs, the more emissions.
Hierarchy of Green Modes of Transport
3. Save Water — In our country, we see extremes when it comes to access to water. Some have never seen water shortage, whereas others have never had enough water. If you are among the first group, please don’t take it for granted. Conserve water wherever possible. Here are some things you can do to conserve water on a daily basis:
- Don’t leave the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving
- Don’t flush unnecessarily
- Don’t ignore leaks — fix them ASAP
- Only do full loads on your washing machine.
- Avoid long showers or baths
Find out more ways to conserve water here!
4. Change Your Eating Habits — Our eating habits make a big difference to our carbon footprints. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Use seasonal and local ingredients. This would mean that your food hasn’t travelled far to get to you, hence creating a smaller carbon footprint. But, also keep in mind that you may not find everything you need locally. So, just try to eat as many local ingredients as possible.
- If you’re a non-vegetarian, try to reduce the amount of meat you consume. A lot of the world’s carbon emissions comes from bringing poultry and meat to our plates.
- Keep your food waste to a minimum.
- Compost your food waste!
- Try shopping in bulk and package-free. Here’s a map to find shops that have package-free options near you!
5. Buy Less! — With globalisation and widespread access to the internet, our buying habits have changed. We have access to an unimaginable number of e-commerce platforms. Products that we never knew existed, and some which we never would have needed before.
Make wise decisions as a consumer. Remember that every product takes resources, and products from far away need to travel a lot to get to you.
Don’t buy just for the sake of buying, however tempting it may be. Take time to think about whether you really need something. Ask yourself if you’re actually going to use it before jumping the gun. And whenever possible, buy used or upcycled items.
6. Find Your Green Thumb — Plants in your house or apartment are great for ambience and even better for the environment! Since plants can absorb CO2, having plants can help you bring down your carbon footprint. Plus, it can help create a cooler environment. Depending on the space you have, you could grow flowers, trees or even your own little vegetable garden!
7. Conserve Electricity — It’s crucial for us to make a conscious effort to conserve energy. Remember to switch off any lights, fans or appliances that aren’t in use. Unplug any devices that don’t need to be plugged in. Switch to LED Bulbs. Avoid using Air Conditioners, but if you must then make sure to get them serviced regularly.
8. Avoid Fast Fashion — Trends come, and trends go. We see big brands selling these trends at incredible discounts, and we pick it up. But what we don’t do is stop and think about how that piece of clothing can sell at a price that low.
The fashion industry creates unbelievable amounts of waste and emissions. Fashion brands aren’t always kind to the environment or to their employees.
Look for brands that follow ethical practices. There are a lot of sustainable fashion brands that are coming up in India and around the world. When buying a piece of clothing, give a little thought into what went into making that garment.
Finally, remember to buy something that will not only last long but also something that you know you’ll actually use (and not just once or twice!).
In the words of Vivienne Westwood, “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity. Everybody’s buying far too many clothes.“
These are little changes we can all make to create a big difference. Sometimes we’re already making a difference without even realising. In the comments below, tell us something you’ve done in the last 30 days that has reduced your carbon footprint! Otherwise, then tell us something you plan to do in the next 30 days!
Let’s make a change and let’s do it now!