There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint in the summer months. You can exercise more and use the car less frequently, grow a garden, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and conserve energy using energy-saving devices. Below are some specific ideas of how your and your family can reduce your carbon footprint this season.
Try a New Mode Of Transportation
Just one gallon of gasoline emits tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Cut down on using your car this summer and walk and bike in your neighborhood instead. Think about walking to the mailbox instead of driving to the local post office to mail letters. When you drive somewhere and park, walk an extra few blocks rather than drive around to nearby destinations. You do not have to park as close as possible. Consider using the bus for local transportation, as choosing public transit can reduce the number of other vehicles on the street. There are over 6 million car accidents in the United States yearly, partially due to overcrowded roads. Choose local parks and trails in your state and walk and hike locally or enjoy taking a stroll around the block instead of a nightly drive to clear your head.
Not only do cars come with harmful emissions, but they can also be expensive to maintain. Around 96% of Subarus sold during the past decade are still on the road, which means many drivers may also have to deal with expensive vehicle maintenance to keep their cars operable. You can cut down on necessary repairs by ditching your car for a bike this summer whenever possible. Biking is a great way to exercise or get from point A to point B. If you live close to where you work, walking or biking to work in good weather can be a great way to burn calories, shed a sedentary lifestyle, and reduce your environmental impact. You can bike or walk in parks, local college campuses, the neighborhood, or in the heart of the city. Don’t forget to learn the safety rules and follow them when biking or walking. Walk and bike to places a few miles near your home to start; you might find you love it so much that you try not to take the car if you don’t have to!
Plan a Garden Or Grow Plants in Pots
Plant a garden this year and start growing some herbs and vegetables. Go to a local garden center and purchase native flowers, vegetables, and herbs. You should also stop using chemical pesticides and buy organic pesticides made from natural ingredients (or make your own at home!). While Oklahoma has over 540 common pests, they can be kept out of your garden in ways that won’t harm the surrounding environment if you stick to natural pesticides and insecticides. Your garden center can tell you how to care for the plants you buy. Buy plants for the deck or patio if you don’t have the time to care for a garden. You can use the vegetables and herbs you grow when cooking. This can help you reduce the environmental impact associated with purchasing groceries that come from far-away farms. You might even consider collecting water in a rain barrel to use to water the lawn and your plants at home, thus saving water!
Use a Programmable Thermostat and Fans to Reduce Energy Consumption
Installing a programmable thermostat will help you save on your electric bill when cooling the house. This handy device can increase or decrease the temperature, even when you’re not at home. Other ways to cool the house include closing the shutters, blinds, and shades during the day. You can also use a fan instead of an air conditioner or to supplement your AC. You might even think about switching to a green energy plan powered by renewable energy. Remember to unplug appliances you’re not using and cook on the outdoor grill instead of using the oven to reduce your overall energy consumption and to keep your home more comfortable throughout the hotter months.
Eat Local and Reduce Meat Consumption
This summer, shop at your local farmers’ market where they sell local produce grown in your region. You should always aim to buy seasonal produce, as it is less expensive and can be transported in a more environmentally-friendly way. You can always prepare your vegetables in large batches and freeze for later use to reduce waste. Find some new recipes for vegetable, fruit, and pasta salads or soups and try them out this summer. Be sure to try some new fruits and vegetables you have never eaten before every week. You can also reduce meat consumption in your diet, as the meat industry can be incredibly harmful to the environment.
These tips will help you reduce your carbon footprint and help you find a way to promote green and natural living in the warmer months.