If you are following my articles you will notice I am constantly trying to find ways to reduce my carbon footprint. Why? Because every single thing we do has a long story behind it. Just look around you. Everything you see began as an idea which evolved into a product.
The materials in that product had to be explored, extracted, manufactured, transported and on up the chain to consumption. If there is metal, then it is safe to say the mineral resources it takes to make steel traveled around the globe many times in vehicles that use fossil fuels. The same can be said for most materials. Just imagine the stories behind everything that is in sight of you right now.
Today we will take a look at three simple ways to reduce your footprint, while also helping others reduce theirs. You have heard of the “Web of Life.” It is true. We are all connected by the air that we breath, the water that we drink, and the food that we eat. All of these life-giving resources are screaming for help.
Reuse Is Good For Others
A few people I have met in my life are big consumers. And when they are done with storing items in the garage a few years, it ends up in the dump. Of course, not buying things you really don’t need is the best choice, but the next step is to find a new home for it. Some items can be sent to consignment or social support businesses like Salvation Army or Goodwill. This gives your items a second life, supports the people who work there, and allows others to purchase things they need without needing to make a new product (and adding to the CO2 story). This reduces their carbon footprint.
Slim Down Your Mailbox
We get things in the mail almost daily without considering the story behind it. Most of the items are made from paper, which began its journey back in the forests that give us life. Does not really make sense to treat it lightly if you look at it that way. Especially when the common thought is to just toss the unwanted mail into the trash, or even the recycling bin. Recycling should never be considered the best option.
In my personal story, I saw that banks, insurance companies, and investment companies like to send mail. A lot of it. Most I do not need. So that is where I started by asking them to not send mail and allow me to access what I need to access my accounts online. This is not an option for 100% of the population, but if you are reading this, then it is for you.
Food For Thought
Finding a Farm to Table restaurant or two in your area would greatly reduce the footprint of the traditional restaurants that buy in bulk from food service companies. The production of our food and the waste we create is one of the leading sources of CO2 in our atmosphere. We buy California oranges in Florida, and Florida oranges in California. Insanity!
With a Farm to Table restaurant, they source as much as they can locally, and organically if possible. This means you get better nutrition, great seasonal variety, and much less transporting across the country. Plus you are supporting local farmers. If you request organic, you are also helping the farmers reduce their footprint even more. But beware of those who claim to be Farm to Table but are not. You can tell.
- Take a look around your garage and see what others might be able to use that you are not using. Then proceed to the closets!
- Do an audit of your mailbox. Contact the companies that you get the most unwanted mail from and ask to be taken off the list, or switch to online access instead.
- Find one or two Farm to Table restaurants in your area.
Organize an Eco-Swap, where people bring things to donate which can be taken by others for free. Take remaining items to Goodwill, second hand store or consignment.