4 Realistic Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Carbon Footprint

We may not notice it, but everything we do in our daily lives affects the Earth. A carbon footprint is not something we can easily see because it’s simply gasses that are produced in the air. However, it’s our daily routine that produces these gases, and many of us don’t even realize we are doing it.

Four main areas in people’s lives that have a big impact on carbon footprint that can be reduced are transportation, food, housing, and shopping. These habits can have damaging effects on Earth and will leave a long-term unreversible harmful environment.

Let’s learn about what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and start with easy and realistic changes we can make starting today.

What is Your Carbon Footprint

The first thing to understand is what you are already doing. Evaluate your lifestyle first to see where you stand and then slowly over time, make the necessary changes to reduce your carbon footprint as small as you can.

Carbon footprint is measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). There are many carbon footprint calculators online, simply do a google search, click on any of them and complete them to see where you stand. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has one too and you can access it here, this one also gives you action items you can do to improve.

Where you live also affects your carbon footprint. People that live in cities tend to walk more and take public transportation whereas people in the suburbs tend to drive more.

Making changes is never easy, with anything in life. Especially changes to slow down climate change. However, for any changes in our lives to be sustainable, we need to start small. Starting small and building our way up will be less overwhelming and more permanent in the long run.

There are a lot of things that seem impossible at first, for example, a big contributor is your car. That’s going to be hard to give up, impossible for some, especially if you use it to go to work. But you don’t have to give it up right away or even start there, start where it’s realistic and easy for you.

Importance of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Why is reducing our carbon footprint even important? Because it affects the planet that we all live on. We all share this planet so it’s up to everyone to do their part to preserve as much as we can. We all want a place where our family can live and our kids, and kids’ kids’ and so on.

Increasing carbon footprints lead to climate change that will have damaging effects on our environment. We’ll have stronger storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and hotter temperatures that can cause drought, animal extinction, glacier meltdown, and rising sea levels. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials where polar bears are suffering due to the ice melting.

Global warming affects where people live and the community. Severe weather can damage our homes, water can flood them, and storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes can tear down an entire community. Not only are the shelters ruined but it will cost thousands and millions to repair, and think about that occurring more than once. On top of that, people have elders, children, handicapped, and pets to worry about when severe weather hits.

It’s no news that there are many endangered animals out there. I know it’s harder for some people not to care about wildlife, but without them, we’ll lose nature and beauty. Animals complete the ecosystem and they remind us of nature and simplicity.

Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

As mentioned above, there are 4 areas in our lives where we can focus on and make small changes to reduce our carbon footprints. A reminder, they were transportation, food, housing, and shopping. These will be things you need to evaluate in your life and determine what’s important and realistic for you. Make small changes and graduate to bigger ones when you’re ready.


It seems the bigger the vehicle the more damage it causes. The next time you travel somewhere, think about how you’ll get there. Here is a chart from the EPA that shows transportation makes up 27% of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2020. Transportation is cars, trucks, commercial aircraft, railroads, and other sources. Here are some things you can do.

  • Drive less
  • Brake and accelerate less if possible
  • Keep up with car maintenance
  • Plan ahead to avoid flying, take a road trip instead
  • If you’re going to fly, try booking economy, fly nonstop
  • If it’s time for a new car, consider electric or hybrid
  • Ride a bike to work


I know food can be a big one because it affects people personally, culturally and emotionally. But according to a study done from Oxford University, going vegan can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 percent. Cattle are the number 1 agricultural source of greenhouse gases worldwide. According to UC Davis, each year a single cow can contribute 220 pounds of methane.

Now, since we are focusing on small changes, start by replacing one meal a day or have set days where you reduce your meat consumption. Meatless Monday is a great place to start and the best way to start your week! You don’t have to go vegan, but you can start making those small changes. Choose the veggie option every now and then, there are even other diets like pescatarian, different kinds of vegetarians and even a flexitarian. As long as you are aware and now making those conscious decisions.

In addition to reducing your meat intake, here are other things you can do.

  • Meal prep – saves you time, money, and waste
  • Shop locally, go to farmers’ markets
  • Plan your meals for the week so you don’t buy too many groceries
  • Portion control so you don’t overeat or end up throwing food away
  • Compost
  • Buy in bulk when you can
  • Prep ingredients so they’re ready to grab and eat
  • Use reusable bags


Our living space, the place we call home, is so important, it’s where we spend at least 90% of our day. Air conditioning, dishwasher, laundry machines, constant electronics all day to stimulate us. Here are some things you can do.

  • Have good insulation
  • Switch to green energy
  • Use less water, adjust water temperature
  • Change out lightbulbs
  • Use thermostat to adjust the temperature when you’re home vs at work
  • Turn lights off in rooms you’re not using
  • When you need new appliance consider companies that are energy efficient
  • Use cold water for laundry


This one is so big because it’s the mission of every company out there, to sell you something. From clothes to beauty to everyday household items to the latest gadget, their goal is to get you to buy. According to the world bank, the world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually. The next time you need to buy something, ask yourself if you need it, if it’s good quality that will last a long time, and if it’s worth adding to the trash once it gets thrown away.

  • Avoid mass markets
  • Don’t upgrade to the latest gadget or phone
  • Buy secondhand when possible
  • Support eco-friendly companies

You Can Do it

The idea of slowing down climate change is overwhelming, that’s why small changes little by little will add up and eventually become a habit and more natural to you. Don’t think you’re only one person or too small for the job, it’s worse if you think someone else will handle it later. We must all do our part and the best way is to lead by example.

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