5 Unusual Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (Without Affecting Quality of Life)
Buying sustainable products like Lazy Coconuts is a great start to reducing your carbon footprint because we produce less waste, fewer carbon emissions and we offset what emissions we do produce. But what else can we do? The first step in reducing your own emissions is to measure them, just like we did in Our Carbon Negative Journey.
There are loads of calculators available online. We reviewed 5 calculators to find which are best. Each calculator uses different factors and equations to arrive at their final numbers, so expect varied results. Your best bet is to use a handful of calculators and then take the average, which will take more time but also paint a clearer picture.
Most guides include the obvious tips—things like reducing air travel, eating less meat, using public transport or biking. You should do all of those things if you're able! But there are other things you can do which don't require a huge change in habits. here are our top 5 tips to reduce your carbon footprint that don't require a big shift in habits.
If you do one thing, vote. Climate change is such a big problem that we need help from governments to legislate changes. Vote local, vote absentee if you need to.
2. Switch to a green energy provider
This motivates companies to increase renewable supply, which will ultimately drive down costs until they become more competitive with fossil fuels. If renewables are unavailable around you, green energy providers generally purchase Renewable Energy Credits to offset your energy usage with green energy elsewhere. The industry is unregulated, so the EPA recommends buying through a Verified Green Power certified company.
3. Invest in sustainable funds
Traditional investment funds may include stocks that rely on fossil fuels. Pulling money out of dirty tech helps motivate green innovation and fight climate change. There are many options, but we like Betterment's new sustainable fund which differs from others by allowing you to focus on specific issues like climate (This isn't investment advice). It's also incredibly easy to use with the click of a button.
4. Buy carbon offsets
This one is a bit more involved and pricier, but well worth the time and effort. The first step is to measure your footprint. We reviewed 5 carbon calculators to find the best ones. Each calculator uses different formulas that will produce different results. You may consider trying a few and erring on the side of higher emissions.
Once you know your carbon footprint, you can purchase offsets through the calculator websites or through a host of others, like the ones below. We like programs like Climeworks because you're working directly with the supplier and they are actually pulling carbon out of the air. That said, it's on the pricey side, so you'll want to find a program that fits your budget.
- climeworks.com - Direct carbon capture that actually sucks CO2 from the air and stores it underground. Fair warning that this option is very expensive, largely because the technology is so cutting edge. You might consider offsetting some carbon with direct air capture to support the technology, and offsetting the rest with more traditional projects
- goldstandard.org - Literally the gold standard in carbon offsets, they provide a ton of information as well as a variety of programs to offset emissions for individuals and businesses
- native.eco - Similar to Gold Standard, but supporting different projects. It seems to us that they support more infrastructure projects as opposed to social projects (e.g. windmills vs cookstoves)
- our-trace.com - A subscription-based service which places emphasis on ease of use. $15/mo may be all it takes for you to go carbon neutral
5. Install new insulation
If you live in a cold climate, heating may be one of your biggest sources of fossil fuel usage. Patching drafty walls and installing new insulation may be an extremely effective way to drive down that energy usage. And depending on your current insulation situation, it may also save you money in as soon as 5 years.