It may seem like the climate crisis is hard to beat because the world produces waste and CO2 at very alarming levels each year. Since regular households are responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions in Canada and 80% in the US, your family’s actions may matter more than you think. Instead of becoming discouraged, realize that your household’s small steps, even if it’s simply changing the household products you use everyday, can add up to make a huge collective impact. Here are some simple ways you and your family can reduce your household’s carbon footprint.
Reducing Your Household’s Energy Consumption
Households can significantly lower their energy consumption by focusing more on conserving heat. The International Energy Agency states that heating accounted for half of global energy consumption in 2021. This was higher than both electricity (20%) and transport (30%).
Keep in mind that this does not mean that you would need to tolerate the cold in order to make a difference. You can actually start by focusing on simple things, like washing your clothes in cold water. But if you can afford to take big steps, moving to a smaller home would be a lot more energy-efficient. Meanwhile, when it comes to conserving electricity, it’s a bit more straightforward. Turn off lights and all appliances when they’re not in use. Unplugging them will also ensure that they do not consume energy even when they’re turned off.
Consuming Mindfully to Reduce Household Waste
On the average day, the waste produced by your family may not seem like much. It’s when all this is added up for years and multiplied by the billions of people that live on the planet, that it all becomes quite alarming. For example, billions of disposable diapers are dumped in landfills every year. Unfortunately, they will only decompose after hundreds of years. This is a situation that almost can’t be escaped from until we completely run out of space or get sick from toxicity.
That’s why it’s urgent for families to consume mindfully, either by reducing their consumption or by finding reusable alternatives. Consider switching to cloth diapers, which are better for the environment and your baby’s skin. You can also choose non-toxic alternatives to conventional household products, such as eco-friendly cleaners. In addition to saving money and reducing the trash that you have to toss out, solutions like these can reduce carbon emissions from packaging, production, and transportation. Consuming mindfully through the food that you eat would also mean reducing the consumption of livestock, which contribute more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined. And lastly, using a lot of eco-friendly products can save many trees from being chopped down.
Individual Actions, Collective Change
Some people doubt the impact of their actions individually, but fail to realize that this is the beginning and foundation of collective change. Likewise, every small step adds up to large changes on the global scale. And when you set a good example, others follow suit. Of course, transformation must also happen within the economic and political systems that govern our world. We already have the technology that will shift us towards a more sustainable future. All that’s needed now is to take action.