Want to reduce your carbon footprint and wondering what you can do to make it happen? Then you've come to the right place! Whether we eat, travel, heat or store - the daily behavior of every single person on this planet consumes natural resources. For some more, for others less. In order to make the environmental consequences of personal actions measurable and comparable, the ecological footprint a sustainability indicator has been developed that determines the biologically productive area on our planet that is necessary to sustain one's lifestyle in the long term.₁
In this article, I would like to show you 10 tips on what you can do right now to improve your personal ecological footprint. Let's go!
Here is already once Overview for you:
- Reduce consumption of animal products
- Prefer regional and seasonal food
- Pay attention to organic quality in food
- Avoid food waste
- Only use living space that you really need
- Switch to green electricity provider
- Reduce your direct water consumption
- Prefer train, bicycle and walking
- Limit consumer behavior to necessities
- Reduce waste generated
10 Tips - What can I do to improve my environmental footprint?
Before we move on to the tips, you should first check your current, Determine ecological footprint with this calculator. Please be absolutely honest in your answersin order not to falsify the test result. It is expressed in "global hectares" (gha for short). The value makes the footprint of people at different locations in this world with different, biological productivity comparable.
When testing, you will quickly notice that especially the areas of Nutrition, housing, mobility and Consumption are crucial for your personal footprint on our planet. Now that you have determined your value, you can implement the following tips to reduce your ecological footprint. Have fun!
Tip: Have you already heard about Earth Overload Day heard? It is the day of the year on which we humans have consumed more renewable resources than the earth can reproduce in the entire year. In Germany, the day in 2019 was already on May 3₂ - this fact should give you even more motivation to reduce your own share of it.
1. reduce your consumption of animal products
The "animal detour" is extremely resource-intensive. Animal feed, water, energy... all this is necessary to be able to consume meat, eggs, fish and cow's milk in the end. Even the Deforestation of the rainforests is largely due to the cultivation of animal feed and the creation of pastureland. Who Environmental sins in everyday life should therefore eliminate animal-based foods from their own menus. The less animal products you consume, the better. There are not only ecological, but also health and ethical reasons for this.
- Why live vegan?
- Stop factory farming - What everyone can do
- Vegan for people - Why veganism also promotes human rights
You already eat vegan? Then you can help other people do the same, Prejudices against the vegan lifestyle file.
2. prefer regional & seasonal foods
If you consciously pay attention to regionality and seasonality in your food purchases, you support the economy in your area. At the same time, your purchases become increasingly climate-friendly, as no long transport routes, energy-consuming cold chains or heated greenhouses necessary are. Your virtual water consumption (indirect water consumption, e.g. for watering your food) is also significantly lower as a result. Just pay attention to regional seals and use a seasonal calendarto have an overview of which foods are in season at any given time.
3. make sure your food is of organic quality
Organic certified food is generally more environmentally friendly than food from conventional production. Mainly because no or fewer pesticides are used, which are the main cause of the Species extinction are. "Organic" may be a little more price intensive in some circumstances, but in return it is also healthier and more sustainable. Organic products are definitely a good way to reduce your environmental footprint. Keep in mind, however, that organic meat is still meat - so it's also produced in a very resource-intensive way. So "organic" isn't automatically eco-friendly - but it's certainly greener than its conventional counterpart.
Good to know: Something also needs to change in terms of economic policy. Because at the current time, the healthier and environmentally better option in the supermarket is often the most expensive and available in fewer numbers. However, it should be the cheaper and most available option.
4. avoid food waste
Global food waste accounts for about 8 percent of total human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, contributing significantly to the Climate change at. A value that need not arise at all. Especially in our Western affluent society, we find it easier to throw food away. However, the cultivation, production, processing, transport and storage of food are extremely resource-intensive and costly. For a better ecological footprint, it is essential, to value this effort as if you had to do it yourself.
5. use and heat only the living space you really need
Heating your home not only costs a lot of money - excessive energy consumption also harms the environment. A smaller living space could be heated more cheaply and in a more environmentally friendly way. So keep that in mind the next time you move, that the apartment of your choice is not bigger than it needs to be. Of course, this also applies to house construction. In addition, you don't always have to turn the heating up to full blast. Sometimes it's enough just to put on a sweater!
6. switch to a green power supplier
Whether solar or coal-fired power, the smartphone may charge just as quickly. The main difference between electricity from renewable and fossil energy sources, are their consequences for the planet. A switch to a green and independent green power provider lasts only five minutes and can easily save 1.9 tons of CO2 per year for a three- to four-person household.₃ Hardly any tip is more convenient to implement in order to improve your own ecological footprint.
7. also reduce your direct water consumption
Every German uses around 120 liters of water a day directly from his or her own tap.₄ Excluding virtual water consumption for food production. How much water (especially hot water) you use for Body care, the Toilet flush, the Cooking or the Watering the garden The amount of water you use is a key factor in your environmental footprint. For example, turn off the water when you soap up, use only the small button for small business on the toilet - and catch rainwater to water your plants.
- Reduce water consumption - It's that simple
- Water scarcity - definition, causes, consequences and solutions
8. prefer train, bike & walk
About 4.9 percent of global warming is due to CO2-emissions from air traffic.₅ No wonder, then, that flying to the other end of the world - and of course the many Short-haul flights - have an extremely negative impact on your footprint. Also Car trips do not cut a good figure. If you have the opportunity, you should therefore use public transport, the train, the bicycle and ideally the Walk on foot prefer. The more you move yourself, the healthier and more environmentally friendly your life will be.
Flights and car trips cannot always be avoided. A few tips on that, too. If you fly at least compensate your greenhouse gas emissions. Experience preferred Destinations in Germany and Europe, exchange diesel or gasoline engine for a Electric car and form Carpoolsto reduce the environmental footprint of you and your work colleagues at the same time.
- Driving sustainably - Here's how
- Is it possible to fly environmentally friendly?
- Good reasons to get on your bike more often
9. optimize your consumption behavior to what is necessary
How often do you buy a new smartphone or new shoes? And do you ever buy something used? Think and live minimalist in any caseto reduce your environmental footprint. Don't buy every new thing but rather maintain and value the things you have. And reduce your possessions as much as possible to the items you really - I mean REALLY(!!) - need. Use instead of own (Sharing) is a good alternative for not having to do without anything. Swapping, sharing, borrowing, repairing and doing it yourself are other important basic rules.
- Why you save money through sustainability
- Store sustainably online - here's how
- Slow Fashion - How to treat clothes sustainably
Notice: Also remember that pets worsen your environmental footprint. The more pet food and water they need, the less sustainable your own daily life will be. As much as we love our animal friends.
10. reduce the amount of waste you produce
Plastic waste in the environment is one of the biggest environmental problems of our time. The waste we produce (whether plastic, waste paper or electronic waste) also makes for a worse ecological footprint. If you want to improve it, you should make as little trash as possible in the spirit of the Zero Waste lifestyle. Not only because the garbage causes great damage to the environment, but also because it has to be recycled or incinerated.
So if you want to reduce your environmental footprint, you should increase unpacked and plastic free shopping. Borrow magazines instead or read them digitally. There are endless ways to avoid waste. Evaluate your trash can after a week to see your savings potential at a glance.
It's really easy to reduce your own ecological footprint
Put the tips into practice - and then simply do the test again. I can guarantee you - also from my own experience - that your ecological footprint will improve. And remember that your gha value doesn't have to be zero. You don't have to do anything perfectly - steady improvement will get you there too. I, too, have a lot of room for improvement, even though I deal with environmental protection and sustainability every day.
And one more thing: it's just great that you're doing everything possible to make your Making life more sustainable! That is half the battle for an ever more environmentally friendly society. The other half is your "political handprint". Use the time at school, at work or in your community to make even more people aware of how easily they can protect our planet on a daily basis.
Do you have any questions or suggestions for a better ecological footprint? As always, feel free to leave me a comment.
PS.: You can get more tips in the Environmental protection blog! Learn there for example, what you can do yourself against air pollution.
₁ Wikimedia Foundation Inc: Ecological Footprint, available at https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ökologischer_Fußabdruck. [02.03.2021].
₂ Germanwatch e.V.: Earth Overload Day (as of July 22, 2019), available at https://www.germanwatch.org/de/overshoot. [02.03.2021].
₃ Kathrin Fromm: 5 Tips on How to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint (as of Jan. 17, 2018), available at https://t1p.de/deew. [02.03.2021].
₄ BMU (2017): Drinking water (as of 23.08.2017), available at https://t1p.de/v39n. [02.03.2021].
₅ Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e. V. (BUND): The true cost of flying: climate killers. https://t1p.de/b085. [02.03.2021].