Common Mistakes We Make When Trying To Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

We all want to reduce our carbon footprint for good reasons. Whether you are worried about the impact on our climate or just want to be a better steward of the earth, it is a worthwhile ambition.

When trying to reduce our carbon footprint, however, we often make some common mistakes that may actually end up having the opposite effect.

While you are making the effort, here are a few mistakes to watch out for:

Focusing too much on individual actions:

While individual actions like recycling, turning off lights, and reducing meat consumption can certainly help, they are obviously not enough to solve the climate crisis on their own. It’s important to also advocate for systemic change. Do this by supporting policies that promote sustainability and reduce emissions at a larger scale.

Overestimating the impact of certain actions:

Some actions, such as buying an electric car, may seem like a major step towards reducing your carbon footprint. However, the production and disposal of the car may actually result in more emissions than sticking with a fuel-efficient gasoline car.

Choosing the wrong products:

When choosing environmentally-friendly products, it’s important to do your research and make informed decisions. Some products marketed as eco-friendly may actually have a larger carbon footprint than their conventional counterparts. This is due to factors such as production, shipping, and packaging. Always look a little deeper before making decisions on products to use.

Ignoring energy efficiency:

While renewable energy sources like solar and wind power are important, it’s also important to focus on energy efficiency. Improving the efficiency of buildings and appliances can significantly reduce energy use and emissions.

Rushing out to replace everything is like replacing a tire on your car when all you really need is a patch.

Neglecting transportation emissions:

Transportation is a major source of carbon emissions. While it’s important to reduce driving and switch to public transportation or biking, it’s also important to consider the emissions from air travel and shipping.

If you are constantly ordering packages from online vendors, it adds significantly to your carbon footprint. If you don’t want to give up the convenience of having doorstep service, consider reducing your packaging and shipping by ordering in bulk one day a week, rather than impulsively daily. Even better, though, consider buying the bulk of your produce and goods locally. You support your community and greatly reduce carbon emissions.

Not taking a comprehensive approach:

To effectively reduce your carbon footprint, it’s important to take a comprehensive approach and consider all aspects of your lifestyle. This includes not only your energy and transportation use, but also your diet, consumption habits, and waste management.

However, you don’t have to do everything at once. Take a look at each area of your life individually, make changes, and then move on to the next. You can set a goal to address each one weekly or monthly, or as needed.

By avoiding these mistakes and taking a holistic approach to reducing your carbon footprint, you can make a real difference in helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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