A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions. The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world. Globally, the average is closer to 4 tons. To have the best chance of avoiding a 2℃rise in global temperatures and catastrophic climate events, the average global carbon footprint per year needs to drop under 2 tons by 2050. Below are 10 actions you can take to protect our earth and reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Eat Less Meat
Livestock farming contributes to land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain, and 18% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. One easy and fun way to reduce meat consumption are Meatless Mondays! By participating in Meatless Mondays, you can save 425 gallons of water for every burger patty you do not consume! Other, more challenging commitments include going vegetarian or vegan. A vegetarian or vegan diet would cut livestock emissions by 63% and 70%, respectively.
2. Buy or Grow your Food Locally
Buying local food reduces “food miles” or the distance that food has traveled- from the place it was produced to the place where it will be sold to the consumer. There are also many economic benefits to buying locally- it keeps money in your community, local farmers keep more profit, it creates jobs, and it supplies other local businesses. So how can you buy food locally? Shop at farmers markets! Glendale Gateway 801 N Brand Blvd every Tuesday from 10am-2pm and Montrose Harvest Market 2300 block of Honolulu Ave every Sunday from 8am-noon. How can you grow food locally? Join a community garden! Community gardens give residents the opportunity to plant and harvest their own vegetables in their assigned plot, year-round. Glendale has 4 community gardens:
· Palmer Park Community Garden- 610 E Palmer Ave (contact Armen Tagakchyan at (818) 548-2054 or firstname.lastname@example.org
· Glendale Community Garden- 626 Geneva St (contact email@example.com)
· Monterey Road Eco Community Gardens- East- 870 Monterey Rd (contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
· Monterey Road Eco Community Gardens- West- 839 Monterey Rd contact email@example.com)
3. Reduce Food Waste
31% of food loss occurs at the retail and consumer levels which is equivalent to 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food. This wasted food also wastes the land, water, labor, energy, and other inputs that went into growing and making the food. So how can you reduce your food waste?
· Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping and buy only the things needed for those meals
· Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables https://www.greenmatters.com/p/easy-food-preservation
· Make soups, casseroles, and stir fries with produce that is about to spoil
If you own a food business, consider donating all of your edible excess food through Glendale’s Edible Food Recovery Program! Contact Katie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
Organic waste in landfills generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. By composting, waste food and other organics, methane emissions are significantly reduced. To start composting at home, click here, to participate in an online compost workshop and receive a discounted compost bin!
5. Buy Second-Hand Clothes
Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the landfill each year. Buying secondhand means you will be keeping plastic out of landfills and positively contributing to the decrease in worldwide textile demand and subsequent waste. Thrift stores are also significantly cheaper than standard retail stores and are often only lightly worn!
6. Replace All Incandescent Light Bulbs with LED Bulbs
LED lamps can last up to 20 times longer than standard forms of lighting which will save you money! Standard LED lamps can be 80% more energy-efficient than other light and waste far less energy.
7. Wash your Clothing in Cold Water
This little change saves around 90% of the energy used by the washing machine during laundry! This is because it takes a significant amount of energy to heat the water. By changing it to cold water, it will reduce the washers overall carbon emissions by 75%.
8. Buy Reusable Items
· Reusable plastic bags
· Beeswax wraps
· Reusable water bottles
· Reusable grocery bags
· Mesh produce bags
· Plastic straws
· Silicone bowl covers
By using reusable items, you will save energy, prevent pollution that comes with landfills, prevent environmental pollution, save natural resources, and reduce greenhouse emissions.
9. Turn Off Water
Ways to conserve water:
· Only take a 5-10 minute shower
· Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors
· Turn off the water while shaving
· Use your dishwasher for full loads only
· If you wash dishes by hand, do not leave the water running for rinsing
· Plant drought-resistant trees and plants in your yard
Conserving water helps conserve energy and reduce carbon pollution. Just by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth in the morning and before bedtimes, you can save up to 8 gallons of water!
10. Become Engaged in Improving the Environment
We want to hear from you! If you are passionate about the environment and sustainability, we would love to hear what you would like the City of Glendale to prioritize! Contact Katie Ross at email@example.com to express your thoughts! We hope to hear from you!
Get involved with Glendale environmental groups!
· Glendale Environmental Coalition
· V.O.I.C.E. (Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment)
· Sierra Club (Verdugo Hills Chapter)
Vote! Make your voice heard in both local and national elections!
Thank you so much for participating in “10 Ways to Reduce your Carbon Footprint!” If you have any questions about the City’s environmental efforts, our priorities, and our future plans, please do not hesitate to reach out to Katie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.