Each person in this world influences our environment and has their own carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is the number of greenhouse gases that develop by our individual actions. According to The Nature Conservancy, the average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, which is one of the highest rates in the whole world. Lowering your carbon footprint cannot happen overnight. If you would like to be greener in retirement, there are some changes that you can make in your everyday life. With these changes that we will soon discuss, you will begin to make a huge difference in the world and environment.
A typical thing for retirees to start doing after retirement is downsizing houses. Downsizing to a smaller home will have numerous benefits. Typically having a bigger house means more space; therefore, more money you will be spending. Whether that money is furniture, electronics, appliances, etc., you tend to spend more money when your house is larger than average. Downsizing to a smaller home will help you prioritize the necessities in your home.
One of the top downfalls for living in a bigger home would be the energy bill. If you have more bedrooms and bathrooms, then when it comes down to water, heating and cooling costs, you will notice that living in a large home comes with a price! When living in a smaller home, you will have the advantage of reducing your energy and water bill significantly.
2) Eat Less Meat
A way to help the environment is by eating less meat. Now, we are not asking for you to become vegetarian and vegan overnight. But some scientists have been stating warnings that humans will need to cut the consumption of meat significantly, in order to avoid a dangerous climate change.
All food products require lots of energy, fossil fuels and fertilizer. According to “The Way We Eat”; it takes 13 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. With that said, the more meat we eat, the more grain is required to feed the animals. In addition to that, more water, land, energy and chemicals are needed to fertilize and house the forestation and animals. Do you see how quickly that adds up? By having plant-based meals and cutting some meat out of your daily diet will play a significant role in becoming greener.
3) Home Garden
Planting your own garden will be beneficial for the environment and your taste buds! By planting a garden, you will help produce more oxygen and help shrink your carbon footprint on multiple levels. Having home-grown fruits and vegetables will taste significantly better than any store produce that you have bought in the past.
By having a personal garden, there will be less delivery trucks on the road headed to grocery stores. With that said, there will be fewer fossil fuels and energy used! By planting your own garden, you have the benefit of having a healthier lifestyle by not taking in any pesticides or chemicals that are typically sprayed on the food that you would receive at the grocery store. There will be more nutrients in your home-grown food!
4) Reuse Products
You can save yourself money while also benefiting the environment by reusing your daily products. By daily products we mean your water bottle, coffee mug, toothbrush, drinking straw, etc. Instead of throwing away your plastic forks and spoons, wash them and reuse them. The whole goal is to avoid throwing away non-disposable products and to decrease the number of materials that are sent to the landfill.
Landfills have been filling up more and more at a fast rate. If you reuse something four or five times before disposing of it, that is four or five trips to the landfill that you potentially saved. Reusing any item will benefit your carbon footprint in one way or another.
5) Go Paperless
Going paperless is very common for most citizens, especially now in the 21st century. According to DocuSign, worldwide paper usage has risen by 400% in the last 40 years. Luckily, Docusign has given citizens the privilege to sign 2.8 documents online and has resulted in saving over 20 billion pieces of paper.
By moving most paper to the virtual world, you can save yourself time while also playing your part in helping the environment. You can pay your bills online, have your receipts emailed instead of printed, paperless faxing, and you can purchase an online book and still read it at the palm of your hands. A tree has the capability to produce 17 pieces of paper. With that said, imagine all of the paper you can save by receiving all of your paperwork online!
There are over hundreds of different ways for you to conserve. Conserving does not have to be tedious and can be done in seconds. For instance, unplugging electronics and turning off your bedrooms lights when leaving the house will save on energy. According to Moment of Science, there are 14,000,000 trees cut down each year to make paper bags. That seems like a lot of trees being used just to be disposed of. Bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store is highly recommended for any grocery shopper.
By conserving in your day to day life, you will not only help the environment but your personal life. You can cut down on monthly energy and water costs by not taking as long of a shower, or by hang drying your clothes instead of using a dryer.
Becoming greener in retirement is perfect for creating new hobbies and for keeping our world spinning. If everyone played their environmental part, it would help cut our carbon footprint in half and would help ensure that our grandchildren will have a beautiful world to live in, just like we were able too.