In December global leaders met in Paris to hammer out an agreement to try and hold global warming to a 1.5 Celsius degree rise in temperature. But while we hold our elected officials responsible for greenhouse gas emission reductions, what can we and what do we do ourselves to contribute to that goal? National Observer asked a number of experts for tips on how you can reduce your personal carbon footprint. (…)
Alexander Ochs, senior director of climate and energy for Worldwatch Institute, questions the ideal of the typical North American, two-garage home with a large lawn. “Is it really worth the two hours commute you do every day to get to your workplace?” he rhetorically asks.
He suggests considering moving back into the city and embracing the density of urban life, living in an apartment over a house. You might have to exchange the lawn in front of your house for a small porch, a balcony, or even a public park, but Ochs argues you’d end up with more time to spend on yourself and with your loved ones.
“It might reduce the carbon footprint of your house, because you’re living on top of each other and you’re warming each other in an apartment building,” he says. “It saves a lot of money and a lot of time and might actually improve peoples’ lives.” (…)
But it’s not just urbanites who can cut back on their vehicle use. Ochs calls the daily commute one of the biggest ways to waste precious time, just driving a car every day along the same route. “You’re not seeing anything new there,” he says. “You’re probably getting increasingly angry in the traffic jam.”
Instead, if public transit is available, Ochs suggests using it. Riding transit offers great opportunities to make the best use of time, according to Ochs, who says you can read a book, watch a movie, play chess, or learn a new language during the commute. If public transit is unavailable, consider car sharing. (…)
Ochs goes even further and suggests you start growing your own food. He points out most people only consider that an option if they live outside the city on a large property, but Ochs insists that’s not the case. “It can be healthier, reduces the environmental footprint. It makes you quite proud you raised and harvested those tomatoes by yourself.”
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