There has been a lot of controversy revolving around climate change within recent years. The Earth is warming and due to increased carbon dioxide emissions, the Earth will continue to warm. A few alarming effects are happening as we continue with our release of carbon dioxide. To start, since the early 19th century, the Earth’s temperature has risen two degrees Fahrenheit. Although this may not seem like much, this is an exponential trend and will only get worse.  

This and many other statistics are shocking and action towards reducing carbon emissions should be our focus going forward. There are some ways that each of us could do our part in reducing our carbon footprint. One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to think about how you travel. Each person can save 2.6 tons of Carbon dioxide if they go carless. To put this in perspective, that is a round trip to England and back. Some ways to reduce your car use can be riding a bike, taking public transportation, or carpooling can help. When buying new cars, look for cars that are more efficient and newer. Electric and hybrid cars can help reduce your carbon footprint.  

Being conscious of what we eat and throw away can help reduce our carbon footprints. Going to a vegan diet is best for the environment but cutting back on meat can help. Eating red meat can have 100 times the impact on the environment compared to plant-based foods. Although cutting back on red meat can be difficult, switching to chicken can make a difference. Eating local foods can reduce your carbon footprint. Think of it this way, eating local will save thousands of miles of travel. American waste 40% of the food that they buy. Lowering food waste can help. Some tips for this are to eat leftovers, don’t buy in bulk, and have a plan of what you want to cook and eat for the week.   

There are ways that you can take within your living unit or home. Recycling can have a huge impact on carbon footprints. In 2014, Americans produce 258 million tons of trash a year. Americans recycled 89 million tons of waste which resulted in saving energy generated by 25 million homes. Checking for the recycling label on products can help increase this number. Other than recycling, there are other applications that you can alter to help reduce your carbon footprint. Turning down the heat in your unit or home can help. Replacing incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs is important. LEDs use 85% less energy and are cheaper than incandescent. Streaming movies through your smart TV can instead of your gaming console saves ten times the amount of energy.  

Whether you are graduating or returning next year, I challenge you to start implementing ways that you can help reduce your carbon footprint. Whether you cut back on wasting food or carpool more with your friends. Any reduction is a step in the right direction.