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Kristin Eberhard’s Blog

What you can do to reduce your carbon footprint

Kristin Eberhard

Posted April 29, 2013

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Recently, I was telling a friend the grim news about climate change. She wanted to know what are the top things she can do to reduce her personal global warming emissions. The chart below shows the emissions for the average American household. These leads me to conclude that if you are an average American, these are the top four things you could do to reduce your emissions:

  1. Walk, bike, transit, carpool, and drive an EV to get around.
  2. Make your house super energy efficient.
  3. Buy less stuff.
  4. Eat more vegetables rather than meat.

Carbon footprint of the average American household

Carbon Footprint.png

The good news is that reducing your emissions generally also means saving money. The other good news is that several of these are eminently achievable. For example, we have access to beautiful fruits and vegetables in the U.S., so eating a healthy vegetable-based diet is totally within reach. The bad news is that these will likely involve changes (ie: if you like to eat meat, it might not sound so achievable to become vegetarian), and some may be very difficult within your current context (ie: if you live in suburbia, then driving a car is your only good option and buying an EV may not be within reach. If you rent your house or apartment, it can be hard to do an energy efficiency overhaul.).

For more detail on your actual footprint and more detailed suggestions of actions you can take, you can spend a few minutes adjusting the carbon calculator to be more specific to you, and then look at its suggestions for action. It calculator starts with the average American household (above), and then you can enter your zipcode and income and adjust for how many miles you actually put on your car each year, how much money you actually pay for electricity bill each month, etc.

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