We hear a lot about global warming and climate change, but what exactly is a carbon footprint? A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds that a particular person or group emits due to the consumption of fossil fuels. A family of four with 2 cars and a 2,000-sq-ft house can generate more than 106 tons of carbon dioxide per year. This number can change depending on outside factors as well such as taking flights, the amount of food they consume, and whether or not they recycle. Want to see how your family stacks up? Try using this carbon footprint calculator.

Solar and Recycle

Although you may think there isn’t much you can do, there are ways to reduce your carbon footprint. After all, the air we breathe is pretty important. Here are a few steps you can take!

Go Solar
There are many forms of renewable energy, but solar is considered one of the best solutions when it comes to the world’s usage of fossil fuels for electricity.  Adding a 8.6-kilowatt solar system can prevent about 9,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emission a year.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. We’ve all heard it. Industries that produce goods used on a daily basis are one of three main contributors to US greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of throwing things into the trash, consider using your local recycling facilities. Recycling one thing to make another means you are reducing the reliance on the production of new products and lessening the amount of waste put into landfills.

Minimize Vehicle Usage
Did you know that about 31% of total US carbon dioxide emission is due to transportation?  Consider riding a bike, walking, or even using public transportation. Even small changes such as parking and grabbing food to-go rather than going through a drive-thru can help. You could also, rather than something that runs on gas or diesel, drive an electric vehicle.

Consider the Food You Consume
Eat local and organic food. Transportation and production of food make up 13% of our gas emissions. You could also try making one vegetarian meal per day. Not only does this help with lessening the high demand for resources used by the factories that produce meat, but it also contributes to helping out our animal friends as well.