Why Sustainable Living? The Best Ways to Reduce Your Footprint
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
As the human population grows, our planet's carrying capacity is shrinking. We see this happening all over the world with climate change, deforestation, and biodiversity loss. As a result, we're using more than 50% of Earth's net primary production--the food consumed by humans and livestock. Humans are also the only species to know about the negative impacts of their own actions. So now it's up to us to create sustainable living practices that benefit people and the environment. Here are some ways we can do just that.
There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about our planet's health. For one, the human population is projected to reach 9 billion people by the year 2050. At the same time, we're consuming more and more natural resources, such as groundwater and forests. We've also got a serious carbon footprint problem. In fact, if you live in the United States, you're responsible for 18 tons of CO2 per year. That's almost triple what the average person in India emits.
To solve these problems, we need to take action. And the first step is becoming aware of our consumption and waste levels. This awareness is best achieved through a personal carbon footprint assessment. The Carbonfund website has a free footprint calculator that allows you to discover how your activities impact the environment.
What does a carbon footprint really mean? It's the number of greenhouse gases you produce as a result of your daily activities. Greenhouse gases include CO2, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). They are the byproducts of burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
These emissions are hazardous to all living things. And they have produced a long-term trend of rising global temperatures--a phenomenon commonly known as climate change. In fact, these changes are already being felt all over the world. In 2010, the state of Texas was hit by a record drought that destroyed crops and forced ranchers to liquidate their herds.
Sustainable living strategies and tips
How you can reduce your carbon footprint: The best way to decrease your personal carbon dioxide emissions is by adopting sustainable living strategies. Here are some examples:
1. Drive less and carpool whenever possible. This will reduce your intake of fossil fuels and help clean up our air and water systems. Using mass transit is another great way to reduce your impact on the environment. If you're lucky enough to live near a mass transit stop, use it. In fact, many cities are creating rail systems that can drastically reduce vehicle travel. A good example is Phoenix, where they've initiated a light rail system called Valley Metro Light Rail. Most cars only get about 20 miles per gallon of gas. So if you drive a car that gets 25 mpg, you'll save about 13 gallons of gas each month if you switch to public transportation. Similarly, use your bike for short-distance commuting instead of taking the car.
2. Eat locally and seasonally. Eating fresh, unprocessed foods is better for you and better for the planet. Eat less meat. You can get a lot of protein from plants, including beans and nuts. For example, if you eat 100 grams of soy protein a day you'll get the same amount of protein as if you were to eat 100 grams of chicken breast (per recommendation from the USDA). This is because the meat is very inefficient at converting feed to the flesh--and plant proteins are better at doing that than animal proteins.
3. Purchase green power and support green energy companies. They help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by paying them to produce fewer emissions or to use renewable forms of energy, such as wind or solar power.
4. Reuse and recycle. This is a great way to cut down on your waste, especially if you live in an area that doesn't have convenient recycling services. The best way to reduce your trash is to take advantage of gray-water systems--which are basically rain gutters that help reuse water. You can also visit the EPA's Recycling & Waste Management site for information on how you can reduce your waste.
5. Adopt energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures. This is a great way to save money on electricity and to reduce your overall carbon footprint.
6. Use and promote green products. This is also a great way to make a difference while reducing your carbon footprint by using environmentally friendly and healthy products you buy at the store. In fact, many large companies have pledged to use eco-friendly practices around their factories and offices, such as using reusable cups and bringing recycling bins to work.
7. Buy products with less packaging and fewer chemicals in them--and encourage the companies you do business with to make greener choices as well.
8. Reduce your waste. We throw away millions of tons of recyclables each year and there is no end in sight to our waste problem. The best way to reduce the amount of trash you throw away is to reuse what you have and learn about how you can recycle it.
9. Avoid disposable items, such as plastic bags, cups, and straws--as much as possible. Even better, find ways to reuse or repurpose these items.
10. Reduce your dependency on foreign oil. For example, you can buy a hybrid car--like the Toyota Prius, which uses just 4 gallons of gas every 100 miles! Another option is to start biking to work or using public transportation instead of driving your own vehicle.
11. Plant trees and install solar panels on your roof. Trees reduce your energy consumption by providing shade and protecting shorelines from erosion, and they can help regulate the amount of water in soils by holding the soil together. By planting more trees, you will be helping to combat climate change and preserving the environment for years to come.
12. Cut back on electricity use by using more efficient appliances and turning things off when you're not using them.
13. Use efficient heaters and air conditioners, especially if you live in a cold or warm climate.
14. Get active in political action: This is the most critical step to ensure we're making progress towards a greener tomorrow. By joining non-profit organizations and following the news, we can make sure our government is making good environmental choices. Join groups like 350.org or Greenpeace to learn how you can help ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy a better quality of life. We currently live in a world where more than 6 billion people are using--and abusing--their natural environment. As a result, we've produced an unsustainable amount of greenhouse gases. And these gases are causing the climate to change at an alarming rate. The world's leaders have been slow in confronting this crisis--and some argue they've been ignoring it altogether. On a local level, people have a lot of power to make changes that will directly impact our planet for years to come. By changing our habits and encouraging others to do the same, we can help create a more sustainable society today.
15. Buy less stuff: Consider renting or borrowing items in lieu of purchasing them new. If you must purchase, look for used or refurbished products that are still in good shape. You can also trade with friends or visit second-hand stores. For more information on this topic, click here.
16. Hate waste: Dispose of food and other organic matter properly instead of letting it rot in a landfill where it will generate methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Most communities also have yard-waste disposal sites where you can dispose of plant matter for free. Avoid toxic cleaners. They pollute the land and groundwater. Purchase items that are less toxic or that you can use without having to worry about disposing of them properly. Use water-efficient appliances Be energy efficient and purchase energy-efficient appliances. Consult a professional to build a home that is energy efficient and durable, using less harmful building materials.
17. Reduce pollution: Pollution is an invisible pollutant that many people don't realize. Residues from pesticides, fertilizers, plastics, and even pharmaceuticals seep into soil and groundwater. You can help minimize this problem by not using pesticides in your yard. Join a non-profit or governmental organization that helps maintain the natural environment in your community.
18. Buy local: Buying products made in your area reduces the amount of energy used to transport them and can also reduce the number of air pollutants released into the atmosphere during their production process. When it comes to the environment, the choices we make as individuals and as a society are going to have a huge impact on our future. The good news is, there are simple things you can do today that can make a real difference.
19. Hate waste: Dispose of food and other organic matter properly instead of letting it rot in a landfill where it will generate methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Most communities also have yard-waste disposal sites where you can dispose of plant matter for free. Avoid toxic cleaners. They pollute the land and groundwater. Purchase items that are less toxic or that you can use without having to worry about disposing of them properly. Use water-efficient appliances Be energy efficient and purchase energy-efficient appliances. Consult a professional to build a home that is energy efficient and durable, using less harmful building materials.
20. Use efficient transportation. If you drive, you can use public transit or carpooling to help reduce your fuel consumption--which means less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. If your town doesn't have public transportation, then buy a hybrid car or bike instead of driving an ordinary car.
21. Make sure your business is supporting sustainable practices, such as green power, recycled materials, and eco-friendly cleaning and pest control services.
22. Spread the word: Educate others about how they can reduce their footprint too!
Why is it important to follow these tips? Let me explain
According to the United Nations, we have seen a 17% increase in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, which is a serious increase. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if greenhouse gas emissions continue at this rate, we will see temperatures rise by 2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 and by 6 degrees Fahrenheit by the twenty-first century. This means that if we don't do something soon to reduce our pollution levels, our cities and the rest of the country will become uninhabitable by as early as 2050.
The other reason why it is important to follow these tips is because of the seriousness of climate change. When it comes to a problem like this, inaction can be just as harmful as action. No matter what we do, climate change is going to happen. But there are things that we can do in order to prevent it from being more serious than it already is.
How can agricultural habits be a part of this?
This is how: Due to the increase in population due to overpopulation and the destruction of the environment due to climate change, there has been a major shortage of food. The UN states that we have already reached a point where we are already losing half a billion dollars worth of crops each year. It is not just crops that are being depleted; the amount of loss in livestock and dairy products is even more serious. These losses cause families to starve or not have enough money to buy food that is available. Examples of crops that are losing their value include Maize, barley, wheat, rice, and soybeans.
How does this help the environment?
Due to the fact that Mexico has a high level of poverty in comparison with other countries, many people have to move from rural areas to urban areas in order to find jobs and support their families. In 2006, more than half of all immigrants resided in Mexico City and surrounding areas. These immigrants are contributing to the increase in environmental pollution because they have no link to agriculture or farming. They live in cities and are dependent on foods that are produced by large farms as opposed to local, small farms.
In addition, Mexico City is adding approximately 7,000 people per day. The city is expanding at a rapid rate which causes the land to be further deforested as well as being further polluted by factories. Landfills are overflowing due to the rise in population and lack of laws against dumping trash in public areas. Landfills are allowing many harmful chemicals to leak into the soil and contaminate the water that is used for growing crops.
One major problem with landfills in this city is that they are not being properly closed off. This means that gases and pollutants that are used in the landfills are not being properly disposed of.
Land reclamation is an important part of agriculture, but it has been neglected due to pollution and other natural disasters. The soil may look clean, but it is still contaminated and toxic. When land reclamation occurs, it means that the land is being used to create new gardens.
This project has been done in many countries and one reason for this is because it helps the environment by reducing pollution and conserving resources.
In communities where agriculture plays a large role, farmers are able to practice sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture ensures that farmers use resources together in ways that benefit the environment. This is done by the following:
1. Providing safe, high-quality irrigation water
2. Minimizing soil erosion
3. Pre-planting crops in the correct order so that there is a reserve of food for the next year and keeping weeds out of the fields longer into the growing season
4. Proper crop rotation to prevent soil loss
5. Using cover crops and crop residues to improve soil health and improve plant growth
6. Storing farm residues for long-term soil enhancement.
An example of this is the use of field ponds. Farmers in Mexico can use these ponds to conserve water during the dry season and use this water for irrigation when it is needed during the wet season. This helps farmers become more independent and self-sufficient instead of having to depend on everyone else for their water supply.
In addition, sustainable agriculture strengthens the social structure that has been established in communities and fosters relationships between families, friends, and neighbors. In addition, sustainable agriculture enhances the cultural identity of farmers.
What are these technologies?
Pesticides have been used since the beginning and they continue to be used today. They provide benefits such as controlling insects and plant diseases, but there are consequences to using pesticides. Pesticides contaminate soil and water and they spread into the air, where they can pollute our land and our air. The chemicals in pesticides can become harmful when they enter body tissue or food, causing damage to people's health. They can also disrupt healthy cycles and genetic processes.
For example, when you eat or drink pesticides, your body may not be able to break down the chemical that has entered your system and it could stay in your body for a long time. It could also affect your genes; this could lead to health problems like cancer.
Pesticides are used in agriculture to control insects such as mosquitoes and butterflies, which carry diseases and can create problems when they bite people's skin or the skin of domestic animals.
Farmers use pesticides to help them produce better crops. However, this may also damage their crops and the soil around where they grow their plants. Chemical fertilizers are used for the same reason as pesticides. They can cause pollution to air and water because they do not break down easily in the environment. For example, they can cause erosion by draining into rivers and streams. They also contribute to a variety of health problems such as skin irritation, respiratory disorders, and cancer.
Mechanization is used to reduce the amount of labor that is required for agricultural activities. In this process, farmers invest in technology that helps them transform crops into food more efficiently. Mechanical irrigation is one example of mechanization. Instead of having to water their fields by hand, farmers can now use a mechanical method instead. This reduces the amount of time that is taken to grow crops and increases productivity because fields can be planted at a faster rate. Another example is the use of mechanical harvesters in order to help with labor. These machines can be used as an alternative to taking crops by hand; they are much faster and require less work from the farmer.
Mechanization has allowed farmers to increase yields, but it also causes environmental problems as a result of improper disposal or over-use of fertilizers or pesticides which lead to contamination in soil and water.
The development of sustainable practices in agriculture has been the focus of scientists and researchers during recent years. They have used a number of models to study these practices, one of which is called agroecology. Agroecology is an approach in which environmental, economic, cultural, and social factors are thought to be more important than individual productivity measured by specific economic indicators. This model is based on the belief that farmers' decisions are heavily influenced by uncontrollable variables such as weather or pests. The use of sustainable practices is not easy because it requires a change of routine for farmers. These new methods are time-consuming and take more resources than traditional approaches. However, this will lead to better quality food and improve social interactions.
If you enjoyed reading this blog post, check out the article below and learn the best tips and tricks on how to grow your own farm:
7 Tips for a Successful Farm: How to Grow Your Own Farm