(StatePoint) It may be your dream to make a big impression on the world, but as far as the environment is concerned you’ll do everyone a favor by reducing your impact.

In addition to recycling and composting, you can do your part for the planet by learning your carbon footprint and taking steps to improve it.

A carbon footprint measures your contribution to global climate change, taking into consideration factors like the size of your house, the type of transportation you use, and the source of energy you use at home and work.

You can calculate your carbon footprint online by visiting www.comfortableresponsible.org and clicking on “Carbon Calculator.”

If you’re surprised by what you learn, don’t worry. You can make minor changes to your lifestyle that will reduce your carbon footprint (and save you money!). Here are some ideas to green your daily life:

Turn It Off

There’s no reason to keep your electronics and appliances running when you’re not using them. You may find you prefer living in a house without the din of a constantly droning television set.

Better yet, unplug your electronics. Some products consume energy even if they are just plugged into the wall, including chargers for your phone and camera. According to ENERGY STAR, the average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices that are off or in standby mode.

Commute Green

Walk or bike to your job or school if you live close enough. You’ll do the planet a favor, as well as your health. If that’s not possible, consider taking public transportation or starting a carpool. You may find it convenient to share rides with neighbors who work close to you.

At the very least, consider cars with greater fuel efficiency and avoid commute times that keep you idling in traffic.

Choose Clean Energy

Building the infrastructure to make renewable energy sources like wind and solar a reality will take years. But you can make a responsible energy choice in your home now by using natural gas, the cleanest burning fossil fuel.

When it comes to water heating, home heating, cooking, generators, and laundry, consider opting for natural gas. According to the Department of Energy, 90 percent of the natural gas delivered to your home is useful, as opposed to electricity, which loses more than two-thirds of its usable energy in its generation and transmission from the producer to your home.

And the carbon footprint for a home using natural gas appliances, instead of electric appliances, is up to 46 percent smaller.

Go Veg

A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report found that the meat in our diets produces more greenhouse gases than transportation or industry. If you can’t forgo burgers for life, consider a day without meat here or there.

Reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t need to be painful. Little changes can go a long way.



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