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Hello, everyone!  As promised in my previous post, I’m been combing the internet today looking for simple ideas to reduce our carbon footprint.  Most of the tips fall into one of three categories:  transportation, energy and food.

Transportation is a biggie.  It’s also our most glaring contribution to our household carbon footprint.  If I revisit the calculator I used Thursday and remove our transportation and travel, our household emissions would plummet from 25.789 to 5.181 tonnes of GHG per year.  That’s unreal. Obviously, removing them in real life gets a little more complicated.

Researching food was interesting.  Being vegetarian, I was already aware of the considerable resources that go into meat production, so that wasn’t a big surprise.  What was surprising to me was the answer of the local vs. organic question.  I was anticipating local food to be the clear choice, especially given the results in our transportation calculator above.  The research I did today, however, clearly indicates that organic food – even when shipped thousands of “food miles” – is a much better choice for the environment.  Ideally, buy organic AND local.

Energy use is the third category and, sadly, the one that Canada, as a nation, gets a massive failing grade in.  Until today, I was (blissfully?) unaware of the fact that Canada is the largest consumer of energy in the world (per capita). With 30+ million people, we use as much energy as the entire continent of Africa!  Yes, I said Africa.  Home to 700 million people.  No matter what rationale you use, that’s a crazy comparison.

Here are Sarah’s top tips for easy green-ness….

  1. Walk or bike as often as possible.  (It’s good for your booty too. 😉  )
  2. Plan your errands to minimize driving and maximize efficiency.
  3. When buying a new car, look at fuel efficiency.  (I wish I had.)
  4. Eat organic & local as and when possible.
  5. Introduce a vegetarian meal once a month, once a week, once a day – whatever you can set as a goal and achieve.
  6. If you eat seafood, buy sustainable choices.
  7. Recycle.
  8. Compost.
  9. Turn off computers at night.  Sleep or hibernate during the day.
  10. Buy a reusable water container rather than plastic bottles.  (Watch Tapped or The Story of Bottled Water)
  11. Shorten your shower.
  12. Use cold water in your washing machine.  (This one’s easy! Just turn the dial!)
  13. Turn down your thermostat.  (Every degree lower is approx. 10% savings.)
  14. Turn off your lights.  (Again, easy.)
  15. Buy/make reusable bags.
  16. Plant a tree or two.
  17. Turn the water off when you brush your teeth.  I mean really.
  18. Opt out of your paper phone book.  Use the online directory instead.
  19. Keep your tires properly inflated.
  20. Buy rechargeable batteries.

A quick search online will turn up many more simple ideas.  These are my favourites.  You’ll notice I didn’t say anything about getting rid of baths (in favour of showers) or travelling locally rather than flying somewhere.  They are GREAT suggestions!  I just feel hypocritical putting them out there, because I’m not doing either.  Everyone’s “easy” list will differ just as we as individuals differ.  The one thing we do have in common is the planet we share.  Let’s throw a little love her way.  Have a green week!  Sarah xo