It’s nearing that time of year again when we vow to eat healthier, exercise more, and make simple changes to drive home our personal goals. No matter what your resolutions for 2020 turn out to be, the new year is also a great time to think about the impact you have on the Earth’s resources.
Even though more people today are eco-conscious than in prior years, the average American is still responsible for 19.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. By practicing more conscientious habits, it’s possible to reduce this footprint by half — but which practices are most effective?
Besides calculating your own footprint with the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator, there are several small organic changes you can immediately make for a large environmental impact.
1. Eat Less Meat
Don’t worry — nobody is asking you to go vegan. But studies have shown that a plant-based diet is much less damaging to the environment than a meat-based one. This is mainly because transporting meat is extremely costly to the Earth, emitting significant amounts of carbon. Choosing not to eat meat just one day per week can save as many as 1,160 miles that would otherwise be spent on transport. So, instead of opting for cheeseburgers for dinner this week, try out that vegetarian pasta dish for the good of the environment.
2. Switch Out Your Pillow
It can be tough to know whether the items in your home that you use every day have a positive or negative environmental impact. But one item that you can confidently say is eco-friendly is your organic pillow — that is, if you choose one like Naturepedic’s Organic 2-in-1 Adjustable Latex Pillow. Made with fully organic and non-toxic materials, you can rest easy knowing that your pillow was created with the environment (and your own health!) in mind. Otherwise, cheap, mass-produced pillows often contain materials that, when tossed in a dumpster, end up being detrimental to the environment.
(*Note: Other items in your home that you should evaluate for their organic and eco-friendly quality include kitchen containers, candles, beauty products, dryer sheets, detergent, water bottles, and shopping bags.)
3. Share Your Commute
Carbon emissions from cars account for nearly 16 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. If you have the opportunity to carpool with your colleagues instead of driving separately to work, do it! Many states and major cities nowadays have resources outlined on their Department of Transportation websites, highlighting the various ways you can avoid driving solo on your daily commute. Plus, apps like iCarpool and Waze can help you find other people in your area willing to ride-share. With less cars on the road, the Earth will be able to breathe a bit easier!