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>What YOU Can Do #2 – Don’t Stomp on Mother Earth with Your Footprint

February 22, 2011

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One way we can all help not only precious sea turtles but all living things on Earth is to reduce our carbon footprints! There’s been talk about our carbon footprints for a number of years now, but how many of us have actually gone online and taken a footprint survey or quiz to find out exactly how many resources we use as individuals? Probably like 0.1%—I mean, the only reason I ever did it was because I was doing it for a school assignment.

The truth is, most of us avoid thinking about it because what you end up finding out is quite frightful. For example, I’ll use the survey that I did today on the Global Footprint Network’s website.

If you couldn’t tell the image above says that if everyone were to live like me, we would need 7 planet Earths. 7!!!! Can someone remind me again how many we have? Oh, right. Just one. So basically, you could say I am out to destroy the world with my ways of living.

One of my problems is materials consumption. What chica does not love to shop?! Honestly. But overall, it’s a habit that has been destructive to both the Earth and my bank account. I just need to stop. So if you find yourself constantly buying new things, try shopping at thrift stores or consignment stores, or try to appreciate the things you already have. In the end you’ll save yourself a lot of money, and you’ll conserve a lot of important resources.

My biggest problem is the carbon emissions from travel, since I have to travel coast to coast from California to Massachusetts every year for school (which is about 6 hour flight each way). I also lost my carpooling partner and now I have to drive to work everyday. Not to mention public transportation here SUCKS compared to Boston. (I LOVE THE T!!!) I can’t wait until I’m home for summer and I can just bike everywhere!!!

I love biking, especially with this girl!!

If you’re finding that transportation eats up a lot of your carbon emissions, try public transit or riding a bike! Try carpooling! Carpooling was an amazing experience for me while it lasted. The woman I drove with pointed out great restaurants and things to do, and we chatted about everything. Also it’s relaxing not to worry about driving sometimes.

I am a strict vegetarian, and I buy whatever is local from Whole Foods. My bread comes from the town I live in. If I do eat dairy products I’m lucky enough to live close to a lot of dairy farms. And when I visit home, my mom has become a farmers market fiend and uses a lot of local produce in her cooking. Even for all you carnivores out there, you don’t have to eat meat with EVERY MEAL.

You will not die from lack of protein if you don’t eat meat. I am sick of hearing this. It is one of the worst lies being told in our society.

Yes, meat is totally yummy (especially covered in BBQ sauce); however, you can get protein from hundreds of other sources! Even slices of bread have protein. Learn more about it here. I am definitely not saying everyone should become veggies, but take part in Meatless Mondays and cut it out of your diet once a week at least.

Why is cutting down on meat important? Instead of just eating the grains and food that we are farming we have to dedicate more cropland to produce feed for animals. So the feed is shipped to the farms (transport emissions), once the animals are grown they need to be shipped to a slaughter house (transport emissions), then the meat needs to be packaged (more emissions + wasteful packaging use), then it needs to be shipped again to a distributor (even more transport emissions). If we grew more fruits and veggies they would only need to be shipped once to distributors. This is also an important reason to buy locally produced foods—less emissions!

I’ve only given you just a few ideas. Find out what more you can do by calculating your own carbon footprint. Use the website I mentioned above or check out other Footprint Calculators below.

The Nature Conservancy
Global Footprint Network
World Wildlife Fund
There are many others! Just search Google.
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