State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


The 37 Easiest Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (Animated Graphic)

There are lots of ways individuals can make a difference on climate change, and the animated graphic below shows that they don’t have to take a lot of time or effort. For more information, read the article that accompanies this animated graphic.

A text-only transcript is available below the graphic. 

Graphic: The 37 Easiest Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Text-only transcript:

Solving climate change requires big changes across our society. Although we
can’t directly control what legislation gets passed in Congress, making personal
choices that help the planet can feel empowering and encourage others to take
action, leading to broader cultural and societal shifts.

There are many ways individuals can help—such as insulating your home, putting up solar panels, and planting trees—but the following are the simplest and easiest
changes you can make. They show that making a difference doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or money.

• Compost your food waste, or find a drop-off point.
• Eat less meat and more fruits, veggies, grains, and beans.
• Reduce food waste through meal planning and freezing leftovers.
• Buy in bulk, with a reusable container when possible.
• Choose organic and local foods that are in season.

• Wash your clothing in cold water.
• Buy vintage or recycled clothing.
• Don’t buy fast fashion.

• Support companies that are environmentally responsible.
• Buy used or recycled items whenever possible.
• Opt for a laptop instead of a desktop when buying a new computer.
• Look for Energy Star products, which are more energy efficient.
• Buy less stuff.
• Bring a reusable bag.
• Avoid excess packaging.

• Use fans instead of air conditioning when possible.
• Switch off lights, and unplug devices when they are not in use.
• Sign up to get your electricity from clean energy.
• Change incandescent light bulbs to LEDs.
• Lower your thermostat in winter, and raise it in summer.
• Install a low-flow showerhead to reduce hot water use.
• Take shorter showers.
• Turn your water heater down to 120˚F.
• Do an energy audit to identify ways to be more energy efficient.

• Avoid flying if possible. On shorter trips, driving may emit fewer greenhouse gases.
• Fly nonstop. Landings and takeoffs use more fuel.
• Go economy class, which is more fuel efficient.
• Offset the carbon emissions of your travel.
• Drive less if possible. Walk, take public transportation, carpool, rideshare, or bike instead.
• Combine errands to reduce driving.
• Use cruise control, which can save gas.
• Avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration, which waste gas.
• Avoid traffic jams by using apps like Waze.
• Use less air conditioning while you drive.
• Take care of your car to increase fuel efficiency.
• Consider purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle if you’re shopping for a new car.

Get politically active
• Vote, and join community groups that push for change at the local, state, and federal levels. The most effective solutions to climate change require governmental action.

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