People from the United States are notoriously terrible at producing greenhouse gases. But if only 10 percent of the population made some moderate lifestyle changes, this incredibly harmful substance could be drastically reduced. From changing diets to altering the manner in which people choose to get around, it is more than possible to turn around the damages done to the planet. In fact, the Center for Behavior and the Environment has recently published a report with mind-blowing findings including that the United States emits 6.6 gigatons of carbon equivalent annually, which comprises 15 percent of global emissions, but that simple household steps can take the place of policy when it comes to reducing the emissions in question.
1. Eat less beef
Americans eat more beef per capita than any other population on the planet. It is all but engrained in the culture, but this does not have to be that way. It is by this point well-known that animals produce vast amounts of greenhouse gas, but people don’t have to become completely vegetarian to battle this issue. Instead, significantly reducing one’s consumption of meat, or even substituting in sustainably raised chicken or fish, will reduce the existence of greenhouse gases.
2. Choose a plant-based diet
No one can deny that making a real change in one’s diet is hard. Grocery shopping becomes an entirely different experience, not to mention the challenges of coming up with vegetarian or even vegan recipes that your entire family will eat. But eating a plant-based diet has a myriad of benefits on the reduction of greenhouse gases as well as on your health. Try being vegetarian for a while and see the advantages on your digestion, pocketbook, and general well-being. Look for recipes and coping mechanisms online to help you make the transition.
3. Invest in an electric car
Sure, electric cars cost a pretty penny and might not be as powerful as your current V8 engine. But consider it an investment, both for your bank account and the environment. Consider this: The United States consumes more refined petroleum than any other country in the world, and most of this goes toward gasoline. This problem cannot just be solved by improving public transit. Realistically, most people are not willing to put up with the discomfort of taking the bus to work every day. Instead, every new car that is purchased being electric supports the shift towards reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Stop wasting food
Food waste is a massive problem around the world, with wealthy countries being the primary culprits. As is, the transportation and agricultural methods currently in use emit significant greenhouse gases. However, in the United States, around 400 pounds of food is wasted per year. It is thus crucial to make the effort to reduce waste, both in terms of purchasing less food and composting leftovers. Composting may not smell especially good or be a pleasant thing to create, but your garden will love you for it.
5. Select trains over planes
With the advent of budget airlines, air travel has become increasingly popular all over the world. The problem is that airplanes produce significantly more harmful emissions. In fact, the most recent statistics show that a single airplane ride emits 6 to 47 times more carbon dioxide than an equivalent car or train journey. Consider taking the train for your next short flight. They are quite comfortable, and you don’t need to take off your shoes before going through an invasive security check.