How to reduce your carbon footprint

How to reduce your carbon footprint

Our family is not a zero waste family, nor will we ever completely be. We are. however, taking small steps to lower our impact on the world around us and you can do the same. Here are some small tips to help you get started.

So how to reduce your carbon footprint – where to start…


Vote for political parties and support leaders that believe in taking steps to improve the environment. This is a big one. We can all make small changes and this really does help. However, the power to inflict change on a sizeable scale lies with those in power.

Self Sustain

A large quantity of carbon is emitted in making and moving food. Where possible try growing some fruit and vegetables at home. There are some great ideas and initiatives for mini gardens in smaller living spaces available all over the internet.

If you have the means to do so, invest in solar power. This will not only save you money in the long run, but will ease the strain that you place on the grid.

Make your own compost

A lot of the waste that we throw away can be reused in our gardens and are better left there than in a landfill. Keep a small container in your kitchen and dispose of things like egg shells and left overs from chopped up vegetables.


Our future’s shouldn’t be disposable for the sake of convenience. Bring your own jars, reusable bags, bottles and cups with you when you go shopping. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much plastic I have saved on using just by doing this. When getting takeaways, I ask them to use my tupperwares. No one has ever minded. If people ask me about it, I use it as an opportunity to spread awareness where and when it is well received.

If you are a shop owner, incentivise this practice, by offering a small discount. You’ll be saving on purchasing plastic carry containers.

Have less or no kids

I realise that this one is taboo, but we need to talk about it.

My opinion is not one that is met with popularity, especially since having lots of children is a big part of South African culture, but we’re dealing with an overpopulation issue on a global scale. If we continue with our worldwide population trend, the future that awaits our offspring is that of famine and lack of resources.

Because of modern medicine, people are living longer and dying less. The onus is on us as responsible individuals to change our practices in accordance with this.

More kids means, more carbon emissions, more garbage and more of a demand on Earths resources. It is believed that 10 billion people is the uppermost population limit that Earth can support where food is concerned. If we exceed this limit, the only way we will be able to continue with our trend is if people agree to stop eating meat.

One such scientist, the eminent Harvard University sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, bases his estimate on calculations of the Earth’s available resources. As Wilson pointed out in his book “The Future of Life” (Knopf, 2002), “The constraints of the biosphere are fixed.”

When will we reach this ominous number?

We are currently 7.6 billion people.

The mathematician, Malthus, he said that world population increases exponentially, which is why some theorise that we see a disproportionate climb in the population graph. We can only theorise when we will reach this number based on previous data, so this by no means an exact science.

This number varies, with most seeming much sooner than anyone could anticipate. Some surmise that this number could be achieved as early as 2029!

A dystopian future awaits us if this trend continues.

World Population Graph

Eat Less Meat

You can cut your carbon footprint by a quarter by simply giving up red meat. Raising animals for the slaughter requires massive amounts of land, energy, food and water. As per the Worldwatch Institute, a staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture.

I once asked my neighbor, “What’s for supper?”. To which he replied, “Vegetarian.”. Perplexed by this, I probed a bit more. “Really, what dish are you making”. He laughed and said, “Chicken!”.

This is a difficult one.

The Banting and Atkins diet has gone on to perpetuate this practice. Somehow bread will make us fat. The truth is that sugar and lack of exercise makes us put on weight. Not fat and not carbohydrates. The problem is that sugar is in so many thingsĀ  (such as bread) – and the Banting diet can be successful without an active lifestyle. We would need to make some pretty big changes, to incorporate this one.

It is possible.

Start by reducing your red meat intake to once a week or less and introducing one or two vegetarian meals a week.

Drink Tap Water

In countries where water is safe to drink, drink tap water. You’ll save on money and your plastic count. It’s been proven over and over again that bottled water is not as pure as their branding may lead you to believe.



Carbon Nation


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