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According to a recent survey, almost 9 out of 10 adults around the world want a more sustainable future.1 That’s fantastic! And if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them. (If you’re the odd one out, well, um… keep reading! Maybe we’ll convince you!)
While some of that change might come about through policy or large corporations, it’s important to recognize our own impact and how we can make a difference.
Our blogs are full of tips to be more eco-friendly, but if you want to make the biggest impact with your actions in 2022, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
For the average American, these three areas make up the majority of your greenhouse gas emissions.
And focusing on these will make the most impact on reducing your carbon footprint and living a more sustainable life.
By “travel” we don’t just mean your long-distance vacation plans, we mean your daily transportation to work, school, and the grocery store.
Travel accounts for nearly 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.A.2 That’s a higher percentage than most of the world because of our heavy reliance on personal cars and air travel rather than public transportation like buses and trains.
Our personal cars make up 58% of the U.S. transportation emissions.3
That makes it one of the most impactful places to reduce your carbon footprint (sorry, couldn’t help ourselves!).
If you drive to work or school every day, see if you can find coworkers or other students to carpool with. Ask your company about telework opportunities or alternative work schedules. Working from home one day a week or moving to four, 10-hour days will cut your car emissions by 20% for the year. Driving with a buddy will cut both your emissions by 50%.
Public transportation is even better, since you’re sharing the emissions with more people. Of course, man-powered (walking or cycling) will cut your emissions to zero!
The industry of eco-friendly transportation is booming with possibilities. Electric cars and e-bikes are becoming more and more affordable. City programs have made rent and return programs widely available for bikes, scooters, and more. And the post-pandemic job market is teeming with remote work opportunities.
Think about what strategies might work best for your life to cut your travel carbon emissions in 2022.
While transportation takes the number one spot for carbon emissions in the U.S., electricity comes in at a close second. Overall, it accounts for approximately 35% of our annual greenhouse gasses.
Luckily there are a multitude of ways you can reduce your energy consumption in the home:
New technology has made it easier than ever to be eco-friendly in your house. Programmable thermostats, energy star appliances, and “water-save” or “eco-mode” functions have put energy saving features at the touch of a button.
Agricultural impact isn’t an area that a lot of people focus on because it’s more difficult to see the direct link to your carbon footprint. But agriculture makes up a full 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.2
To lower your agricultural carbon footprint, just take a look at your diet. And don’t worry if it doesn’t seem like you can do all of this. Focus on one or two that fit your lifestyle and stick with it. It all makes a difference.
We’ve never had more options when it comes to sustainable eating than we do now. The variety of nut and soy milks on the shelves continue to grow. Meat alternatives like plant-based burgers use roughly 20% of the resources compared to animal products, and they’re now in nearly every restaurant!
We have more resources than ever before to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. And more and more people are interested in making those changes.
If your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint in 2022, focusing on the big three will make the most impact.
Not sure where to start? Check out our Complete Guide to Sustainable Living 2021 for instructions on how to conduct an energy audit, or take control of your trash.
And finally, talk to your friends and family about making eco-friendly choices for our future. The more we share solutions the more we can all work together for a greener tomorrow. Click below to share our blog on social media and commit to reducing your carbon footprint!