As Grounded celebrates Earth Month and our third anniversary, we invite our community to join us in the effort to examine how we can make small changes with big impacts. Nature is the force that moves our mission, and what would our planet be without the vital natural landscapes that fill it?
Did you know that many daily activities release harmful greenhouse gases into our atmosphere? Known as a carbon footprint, these toxins are produced by the ton each day and damage the environment and human health. By understanding what produces these gases and their impact, we can make mindful decisions that move us toward sustainability for a healthy planet.
What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is the measurement of harmful gases produced and emitted into the air by human activities. These gases ultimately get trapped (some for hundreds of years!) and raise the temperature in our atmosphere, leading to record temperatures and climate crises. The most common pollutants are carbon dioxide and methane.
How Are Greenhouse Gases Emitted?
Pollutants are released into the air when we do nearly anything related to production, daily living, and transportation. Industries like oil, food production, and manufacturing put out the majority of greenhouse gases in our air. However, habits in our routine also increase emission levels - like driving, flying, and using power, heat, or A/C.
Research has shown that corporations and big industries have played a significant role in the climate crisis. Thus, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding how impactful individual change can be in slowing the progression of global warming. As one person, your actions may feel small, but as a collective, we can make a dent for the long term while pushing the urge for action in the right direction. Find your starting place with us!
Sustainable Efforts You Can Take
To protect our invaluable planet and reserve finite resources for future generations, take small steps that eventually become mindful habits. In honor of Earth Month, here are 12 efforts we can take to live in thoughtful exchange with the planet.
5 Household Changes
UTILIZING NATURE'S GOODNESS - When possible, open the blinds and windows to reduce energy consumption indoors.
UNPLUG ELECTRONICS - Devices utilize energy when plugged into the outlet and not in use. Every appliance doesn’t need to be unplugged, but give it a shot. You’ll save money, too!
MINIMIZE LAUNDRY LOADS - Combine small loads into one big load to reduce energy use and air dry when you can.
REDUCE DAILY WASTE - When organic matter, like food, is stuck in landfills and smothered by inorganic materials, like plastics, high levels of toxic methane gas are released. Make an effort to buy less single-use plastic, and if you’re feeling energized, consider using your food scraps for an apartment or community compost.
LED BULBS - LED produces energy more efficiently and lasts longer, ultimately reducing carbon emissions.
4 Lifestyle Changes
INFORMED SHOPPING DECISIONS - Thrift and shop second-hand when possible. Research the big corporations you frequent to understand their environmental impacts and efforts.
REUSABLE BAGS - Ditch plastic bags and invest in reusable bags for shopping. Opt for paper bags rather than plastic if you don’t have reusable ones on hand.
SHOP SMALL + LOCAL - Small businesses are typically not responsible for the destruction of natural habitats or huge amounts of carbon emissions related to production. Shopping locally also requires fewer commuting miles and likewise has reduced environmental impacts. Start by checking out a local Farmers Market or community garden!
SHORTER SHOWERS - We all love a good steamy shower, but water consumption and heating combined make it an environmental expense. Put on a timed playlist so you don’t go overboard.
3 Easy Hacks
REPURPOSE GLASS + PLASTICS - Clean those pasta and pickle jars. Even plastic water bottles are great for repurposing and reducing waste. Fill them with propagated plant cuttings and use them as decor around your house.
BRING PLANTS INDOORS - Plants absorb common toxins found indoors and produce oxygen, giving us cleaner air and other health benefits.
DIY CLEANING PRODUCTS - Chemicals used in many commercial cleaning products contain harmful toxins. Vinegar breaks down oils, dirt, and bacteria, making it a perfect cleaning agent.
- Mix 1 part white vinegar, 2 parts warm water, and optional fragrance (a few drops of essential oil or fresh lemon juice) into a spray bottle.
We've witnessed tragic and traumatic climate events in our lifetime - countless wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes. Asthma rates and pollen counts are increasing, and we know some natural resources can’t replenish quickly enough. Each of us can take it upon ourselves to do our part. Environmental sustainability can mean composting and plant-based diets, but it can also be as simple as walking to your nearby grocery store on a nice day instead of driving.
We invite you to research your own curiosities about the impacts + causes of climate change. You can start by calculating your personal Carbon Footprint or browse the sources below. Be sure to spark conversations with friends, family, and colleagues so that we can widen the impact.
Share your sustainable practices with us @groun.ded.
Getting a Handle on Carbon Dioxide
Global Warming and Human Well-being
Top 20 Companies Accounting for Carbon and Methane Emissions
Global Livestock Environmental Assessment
Sources of Greenhouse Emissions