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I’ll be the first to admit that I have lived high on the hog for parts of my life. I have traveled to Europe and the Caribbean numerous times each. I was on a huge cruise ship coming back to the USA from France when I was a child. I’ve flown back and forth across the USA for work and vacations. I have driven my car up into Canada a few times for vacation. I’ve gone on a dinner cruise around the Boston harbor, downhill skied at resorts … and on and on and on.

I’ve also been not quite right in other ways. For example, I went through a shopaholic period wherein I bought too many shoes, boots, other footwear and clothes so that I could project a certain image and professionalism at work.

I also went through a book buying period since I wanted certain books related to my work. It made life easier for me.

I suppose that my personal habits wouldn’t be so important were the human population to be a billion people or less. However, it is climbing and regions of our Earth are now either collapsing or are under severe stress on account of the collective demand that our species is putting on the planet both in terms of climate change and in our 7.6 billion people resource use.

The fact that I chose only to have one child in part because I understood population dynamics means nothing. While it may make me feel personally good, I am just one mere drop in the huge bucket of humanity. My singular actions are, therefore, negligible except to me personally when compared to our total number of humans that keeps going ever upward.

So on account of my wanting to do my part to help preserve the world in a constructive state, I don’t buy anything anymore except food or as a replacement for something that I have that wore out and that I need.

I arranged to work from home and drive my car less than 1,000 miles a year. I do not undertake powerboat travel in any form and only jet when I have to do so for business.

I keep my house coldish in winter and hot in summer since I do not want to use up gas that fuels my heat in winter, nor electricity for air conditioning in summer. I also keep my overall electricity use and water use low while also trying to eat on the low scale diet-wise.

Yet there is maybe something more that I can do to delimit my carbon footprint. Maybe I should not go to a restaurant once every two weeks or so. Maybe I should help customers in my work to chose better products to suit their needs rather than one that involve rare minerals and metals.

Maybe I have to try to use less paper products since paper, aside from being made from poisonous dioxin, destroys whole forests and the lives of everything living in them. Perhaps I need to reread this following email from Credo and reflect on ways to improve. Perhaps others might want to do so, too.

When I learn that people could number 15.8 billion by century’s end according to UN statistics, I know that I have to try my absolute best to keep my footprint as small as possible. It is only humane of me to do so.

Put another way, one needs to live simply so that others can simply live. We need to support past ourselves this robust, but fragile planet that is getting more and more compromised every day from our combined human activities and sheer number of persons coming into our world:

Birth & Death Rates | Ecology Global Network

• 8 deaths/1,000 population.131.4 million births per year. • 55.3 million people die each year. • 360,000 births per day.

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10  Tips to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint [From Credo]

By now, just about everyone agrees that carbon pollution poses a serious threat to our planet. They’re even building seawalls around Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Ireland to protect the place against climate change.

At this point, we must accept the grim reality that some level of global warming is inevitable. But by taking action now as individuals, we can still avoid the worst effects. According to a recent study in the journal ”Environmental Research Letters,” the four steps that most substantially shrink a person’s carbon footprint are: eating a plant-based diet, living without a car, avoiding air travel and having a smaller family.

Americans emit 16.1 tons of carbon per person per year, according to the World Bank. This is less than in the 1970s when that number was around 22.5 tons, but it’s still far above the 2050 goal set by the Paris Climate Accords, which is 2.1 tons of carbon per person per year.

We’d better get started. Here are 10 steps you can take to shrink your carbon footprint.

Go car-free. Short of having one less child (which cuts the climate change impact by 120 tons of CO2 emissions per year, if you include carbon that the child’s children would emit), living without a car is the biggest step you can take. According to the EPA, the typical passenger vehicle emits around 4.7 metric tons of CO2 each year.

Inflate your tires. If you do drive, make sure your tires are properly inflated. This can cut your carbon emissions by up to 700 pounds a year.

Take a staycation. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or New York to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to an average year’s worth of driving.

But don’t worry about being cooped up too long. There’s hope that changes in both aircraft design and fuel source are on the horizon.

Eat less meat. People who eat more than 3.5 ounces of meat per day – a serving about the size of a deck of cards – generate 15.8 pounds of CO2 each day, vegetarians just 8.4 pounds and vegans only 6.4 pounds.

Try going vegetarian or vegan one or two days a week. And when you do eat meat, choose poultry, which is less greenhouse-gas intensive than beef or pork.

Recycle. You likely recycle to some extent already, but you may not know what an impact it can have. If you recycle half your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of CO2 annually.

Adjust your thermostat. Move your thermostat up 2 degrees in the summer and down 2 degrees in the winter. You’ll reduce your carbon emissions by 1 ton per year.

Wash in cold water. Almost 90 percent of the energy used by a washing machine goes to heat the water. Switching to cold water for your wash cycle will cut your carbon dioxide emissions by around 1,600 pounds a year. While old laundry soaps worked well only with hot water, new soaps are formulated for cold water and perform as well as or better than traditional detergents.

Dry on a clothesline. Drying one load of laundry in a machine puts 0.1 metric tons of CO2 into the air, so line-drying your clothes makes a real difference over time. Another plus: Your clothes will last longer because they won’t get roughed up in the dryer.

Buy an Energy Star fridge. Refrigerators 15 years or older use twice as much energy as a new Energy Star fridges. Replace your old fridge with an Energy Star model, and you can cut your carbon footprint by 8,200 pounds, and save as much as $260 in the first five years.

Tune up your water heater. There are two ways you can make your water heater more efficient. One, wrap it in an insulating blanket. It costs only about $25 at your local home center, and it will cut your carbon emissions by up to 1,000 pounds annually. Two, turn down the thermostat from 140 degrees (the standard factory setting) to 120 degrees. Each 10-degree reduction reduces your carbon emissions by 600 pounds (electric) or 440 pounds (gas) a year.

There you have it: 10 tips to shrink your carbon footprint.

What are some methods you’ve tried? We’d love to hear what’s worked for you.

CREDO Mobile, the Carrier with a Conscience. We work hard every day to give you two things: fantastic mobile phone service and easy, effective ways to make change in the world. We’ve raised over $83 million for progressive nonprofits working hard to make our planet a better place. And we’ve built a movement of over 5 million activists who fight—and win—for the causes we all believe in. Learn more.


Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA.

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BAB says:

    Good steps to carbon control…..but most of these steps should be followed by middle – class or rich who rarely care for carbon emissions. The poor have neither water heater nor fridge …they struggle daily to have a descent meal …

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