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By: AgFed Credit Union

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Affordable Sustainability - Lower Your Carbon Footprint

 Dec 21, 2023
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With climate change an ever-growing threat, reducing our carbon footprint is more important than ever. The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions we generate includes carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases. For most people, the bulk of their carbon footprint is linked to travel, housing and food costs. While we can’t avoid these completely, the good news is, you can reduce your carbon footprint and save money at the same time. Here’s how. 

Stay active

One of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by choosing active transportation whenever possible. Make the choice to walk or bike to your destination when you can instead of driving. This will help you avoid fuel emissions, save money and keep you fit, too. 

Choose public transportation or carpools

When you can’t walk to where you need to go, take public transportation, join a carpool or use a ride-share service. This way, you’ll help reduce the number of vehicles on the road, which reduces carbon emissions. You’ll also save on fuel costs for more money back in your wallet. 

Consider an electric or hybrid vehicle

Another fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint is by driving an electric or hybrid car. A fully electric vehicle will be completely emissions-free, while a hybrid will have significantly lower emissions compared to traditional gas-powered cars. You’ll save on fuel costs and maintenance, too.

Drive efficiently

When you do drive, follow these practices to save on emissions

  • Plan efficient routes. Combine errands and appointments to reduce the number of trips you need to make, saving both time and fuel while reducing your emissions. 
  • Go easy on the gas and brakes. Pressing lightly on the pedals helps reduce your emissions. 
  • Keep your tires filled. Low tire pressure forces your car to increase emissions. 
  • Use cruise control. This generally helps save on gas, and consequently, on fuel emissions. 
  • Keep your car empty. Using your trunk as a storage area may weigh your car down, thereby increasing emissions.

Fly less

If you’re a frequent flier, opt for longer round-trip flights over several small flights with stopovers whenever possible. Choose to drive instead of hopping on a short flight when traveling somewhere within driving distance. It’s also a good idea to support airlines that have sustainable policies and make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.

Make your home energy-efficient

If you haven’t already, take the time now to make your home as energy-efficient as possible. Switch your light bulbs to LEDs, and remember to shut off the light when you leave a room. Program your thermostat to make your air or furnace work less when no one’s home and when everyone’s asleep, and seal all leaky doors and windows. Finally, unplug small appliances when they’re not in use to reduce vampire energy. 

Use less disposables

Single-use plastics are a significant environmental concern. Make an effort to reduce your plastic consumption by investing in reusable bags, containers and water bottles. If you must use disposables, look for those that are biodegradable, such as compostable cutlery and bamboo plates. 

Eat sustainable foods

The production and transportation of meat products often generates higher carbon emissions compared to plant-based alternatives. To reduce your carbon footprint, choose a diet that incorporates more plant-based foods and locally sourced, seasonal produce. In addition, choose food products from companies and farms that practice sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture. To find these, check food labels for organic and Fair Trade certifications.

Use these tips to lead a more sustainable lifestyle that’s easy on the wallet and leaves a healthier planet for future generations. 

Your Turn: How are you reducing your carbon footprint? Tell us about it in the comments! 

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