To reduce your carbon footprint you could grow your own garden in your yard. It not only benefits you, but it benefits the world around you. Growing your own food can help protect the air and water around you because you are not using pesticides and fossil fuels will not be used to transport it. This can really cut down on the world’s carbon emission. It can help you by helping you be active and spending time out side as well as cutting down the amount of money you spend on food. After you buy the soil, fertilizer and seeds to grow these foods there is not much else you need. After you plants start to bloom you will probably have saved the amount of money you spend on the things to grow the garden and you will continue to profit from it. The food that you grow yourself also tastes the best. You can have the comfort of knowing what went on every step of your foods growth and know that it does not have an pesticides or other chemicals in it.
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When you buy your food from the grocery store usually those products are shipped in from different states or even different countries. Think about how much carbon is being emitted to get that food to the stores. It takes planes, trucks, and ships to get your package of food to your store. For example Britain imports and exports 15,000 tons of waffles per year! That is a lot of waffles. Now think about the fact that Britain is about 7,633 miles from Texas, where I live, and how much carbon it takes it to go those 7,633 miles. It is a lot of carbon! This is not only happening with waffles but with a lot of fruits that are not in season where you live, but are in season somewhere else in the world. A way to reduce this carbon emission is to cut down on things that you buy at the grocery store buy a lot of your groceries at a farmers market. Farmers markets have fresh, local food that usually tastes better. It is also a great way to meet new people in your community as well as getting out of the house and enjoying some fresh air. I go to my local farmers market every Saturday with my family and I really enjoy it. There is great food and lots of new people to meet.
When we’re in grocery stores, we don’t often think of where our food comes from or why strawberries and other common fruit is available year round. Years ago, fruit and vegetables were only available during their local growing seasons, but now that seems almost archaic. However, this constant importation has negative effects on the environment. For example, in California in 2005, the import of fruits, nuts, and vegetables released more than 70,000 tons of carbon into the atmosphere which is the equivalent of more than 12,000 cars on the road. This is only one state in the United States, so obviously, our want for fruits and vegetables to be available on a consistent basis is damaging to our earth. Today, the average American prepared meal contains on average, 5 ingredients from countries outside the United States. Awareness must be raised on why locally grown food is better not only for yourself, but for the world. A study shows that when you combine all locally grown food, less carbon dioxide is produced in transport than in one imported product. The effects of this pollution on our health may be reflected in higher cases of asthma and other respiratory symptoms, as well as more school absence days for children. The California Air Resources Board estimates that in
2005 alone, 2,400 premature deaths and 2,800 hospital admissions for asthma and other diseases were caused by direct and indirect exposure to diesel pollution from freight transport activities within the state. We must focus more on locally grown products because this excessive importation is detrimental to the people living in the area as well! This importation is worse than cars, for example 300 tons of sooty particulate matter were released into the air—the equivalent of more than 1.2 million cars or 53 power plants in California. A way to stop this is to buy locally grown food at farmers markets near you and to avoid buying produce that is flown in from abroad!
I must say, I was surprised by my low environmental footprint result. Though, there is always room for improvements! There are a few things concerning my lifestyle that obviously are “off the table”, that I can not live without, such as transportation and food. These topics where the top two of highest carbon dioxide releases. It is hard living without these, rather impossible. I must travel to school everyday, but at least I go there by public transportation and not by car which would be a worse choice. And I do not travel with airplanes so often, which makes my environmental footprint pretty low. But to be able to go anywhere I must transport myself, which makes it hard to chose this away.
The other one, food, is a must, everybody has to eat. But the way each person eats could make big differences on the environment. By choosing organic food products you contribute to a sustainable and healthier environment and by eating less, I am not telling you to stop entirely, meat, it would cause less pressure on the meat industry, which emissions and resources are alarming.
According to facts, (http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/sustainability/) as much as a third of the total amount of produced food for human use globally, is being made for nothing, therefore it ends up in garbage bags. This is a serious problem and this statistics does not sound promising concerning the human’s expected growing population. How will our whole population be able to get food if so much is being thrown away? The food we produced should be eaten and not wasted.
But there are some solutions. The complications with food waste is growing, which could simply be reduce by changing people who live in industrialized countries’s minds to think further and less selfish, and make them stop throwing excellent eatable food away. It will be both more economic and environmental to start making doggie bags out of left overs etc. Poor people can not prioritize buying organic food products, but people with a better life standard can. Simply, everyone, who is able to, should think about this issue and how serious its consequences are. Still, food and its carbon dioxide releases can not be chosen away, but at least its affects could be reduced.
One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to grow your own food. Where I live this is really unusual, but I think if enough people started growing some of their own food it could make a huge difference in our carbon footprint as a community. Growing your own food, such as vegetables, means that the veggies that you would normally buy wouldn’t be transported to you local grocery store or farmer’s market, and you wouldn’t have to drive to the store to buy the products. Growing our own food can also have other benefits as well. The food we eat will be healthier and fresh from our own backyard (or farm). You can also save money, and brighten up your community. I found a website that shows how people grow more food themselves when food prices go up. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/24729307/ns/business-retail/t/food-prices-rise-more-people-grow-their-own/#.Ula-Pm1x5Ao
Many Americans eat way more than they should, especially when it comes to holiday dinners. One of the most famous holiday dinners is Thanksgiving. Most Americans consume about 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. That is nearly 2,500 calories over the suggested intake! According to researchers at the University of Manchester in England, a Thanksgiving dinner for 8 produces about 44 POUNDS of carbon dioxide. About 60% of that number comes from just the life cycle of the turkey alone. Now I’m not saying that you can’t eat any turkey on Thanksgiving. Oh heavens no! That’s what Thanksgiving is all about. But you can make better choices in how you choose your turkey and other food. When choosing to buy food there are two types: organic and industrial agricultural. When choosing to buy organic food you are really helping the earth. About 14% of all greenhouse gases are related to industrial agricultural methods. When farmers use chemical fertilizers on plants it produces a lot of carbon. Even though this is supposed to be about carbon, you should know that over half of all methane (another major greenhouse gas) emissions are from concentrated animal feeding operations. Some of the ways buying organic food helps the environment are by reducing fossil fuel use, providing carbon sequestration in the soil, and eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides. So when Thanksgiving rolls around, make sure to look for the organic turkey.
You all have probably heard that carbon is released from cars, but have you ever wondered just how much is released? It may be more than you expect. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 8,887 grams of carbon dioxide are released from just one gallon of gasoline. It takes on average about 16 gallons to fill up one car’s tank. This is a lot of carbon dioxide that is being released into the atmosphere. Luckily there are ways to reduce the carbon dioxide in the air. One of these ways is gasoline made from carbon dioxide. Researchers at the University of California San Diego (USCD) recently showed that, “light absorbed and converted into electricity by a silicon electrode can help drive a reaction that converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen (www.technologyreview.com).” Carbon monoxide is a key ingredient in making synthetic fuels such as gasoline. With this process, using carbon dioxide to produce carbon monoxide, the carbon in the atmosphere will be able to be recycled. Thankfully, this is part of a movement to find logical ways to use carbon dioxide, a huge greenhouse gas contributor. Sadly, this type of gasoline probably won’t be on the market for at least the next ten years.
Food is a huge contributor to your carbon footprint - producing about 8 tons of emissions in each household! changing your diet for the better can reduce this by a lot. This doesn’t mean you have to go vegetarian, but by changing your own eating habits you will save loads of money, improve your health, and your carbon footprint will drop. Meat, cheese, and eggs produce the most carbon. Eating differently can change the environment for the better and slow global warming. Read more about the certain amounts of greenhouse gases produced by different food sources in the link below.
Not only is meat a large contributor to carbon emissions, but individually packaged foods (granola bars) are as well. “Granola bars come in individual packaging, demanding high energy inputs and resulting in packaging waste. These products contribute up to a third of total energy inputs for food consumption, as their ingredients are shipped from all over, processed, packaged, trucked to storage” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_carbon_diet). Going on a low carbon diet is not only a healthy option- but its also great for our environment. If people in our country eliminated many of these foods in our diets, then we could change our carbon emissions significantly.
Go vegetarian! I know this sounds daunting and almost impossible but going vegetarian even once a week can help not only your diet but the environment as well. It requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef! Transportation of this product also releases a lot of carbon into the atmosphere. So try and eat some veggies even if it is only for a day.