• Lauren Brensel

Crushing Your Carbon Footprint

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, many environmentalists are seeing a shocking but relieving revelation: a decline in Carbon emissions (1). For months, the world has been under lockdown, meaning fewer people on the roads traveling to school or work and less overall carbon dioxide emissions. With this reduction, here are a few tips to keep the momentum going.


Tip #1: Recognize your impact


The first step in tackling a huge issue like climate change is to acknowledge your own input. It would be impossible to become passionate about a subject without evaluating how you add to the problem. Our recommendation here at STEM10 is to research, research, and research some more! The more knowledgeable you are, the better. From there, use free online carbon footprint calculators to see exactly what areas in your life produce the most emissions (2). This will be especially useful when enacting our second tip.


Tip #2: Start off small


Realize that you are already taking the right steps towards decreasing your carbon footprint. Dedicating yourself to this process will be dauntless and there will be constant ups and downs in your journey. That’s why it’s best to start simple. Try eating less meat or using fewer disposable plates or dishes. Maybe go for a bike ride instead of driving to see your friends around the corner. Or, if you need to drive, follow New York Times writer Livia Albeck-Ripka’s advice and “make your trip more climate-friendly” (3). She suggests that you do this by having routine check-ups for your tires, using cruise controls on long destination trips, and carpooling. It’s all about making easy choices in the beginning so that when you choose to make major decisions (going vegan, trying a zero-waste lifestyle), you’ll be ready. The worst thing you could do is pressure yourself by jumping headfirst into something you just can’t manage. Not only is that discouraging to you, but it’s a waste of time that could have been used productively. Although you might have had the right intentions, it is extremely important that you act on them the right way.


Tip #3: Share your story


Make sure that, along the way, you record your experiences. Start a journal or a podcast. Join a club at your school or in your community dedicated to people just like you. This process is most certainly not an easy one so it’s encouraged to let out your frustrations (or your biggest accomplishments) from time to time. Post about it on your social media platforms and suggest small changes to your friends and family (read more about this under Tip #4). Most importantly, be proud! You are taking the right precautions towards a better environment and a better planet. That alone is something to boast about.


Tip #4: Listen


Just as you should be willing to talk about your experiences when reducing your carbon footprint, you should be just as open to listening. Certain lifestyles that benefit your end goal (a cleaner environment) are not made for everyone, and that’s okay. Be prepared for people to turn you down when encouraging them to follow your lead. Not everyone has the right resources or quite frankly, the mindset, to make such drastic life choices. While it might be easy for you, acknowledge that it’s not easy for everyone and each individual will go about this journey in their own way. At the end of the day, be there for your friends and family and keep doing you. If they ever do come around, make sure to show them this article and support them just as they once supported you.


References

1. Quéré, C., Jackson, R., Jones, M., Smith, A., Abernethy, S., Andrew, R., . . . Peters, G. (2020, May 19). Temporary reduction in daily global CO 2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0797-x

2. Carbon Footprint Ltd using RADsite CMS (https://www.radsite.co.uk/). (n.d.). Carbon Calculator. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

3. How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint.

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