Did you know that January 2020 was the hottest January ever recorded in modern history? The land and ocean surface temperature measured 2.05 degrees F (1.14 degrees C) above the 20th-century average. Alarming statistics such as this are becoming commonplace in our world. All the while, global warming remains a problem that’s heavily related to the emissions of greenhouse gases. If there ever was a time for us all to think about living sustainably, that time is now.
Here at Click & Grow, we believe making sustainable choices is crucial for the future of our planet. The concept of sustainability underpins every indoor garden and plant pod we produce, every tip we provide and every decision we make. One of the most important ways we can all fight climate change is by reducing our carbon footprint.
What does ‘carbon footprint’ actually mean?
‘Carbon footprint’ refers to the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by people, manufacturing, or transport over a period of time. Carbon dioxide is the prominent greenhouse gas we refer to when talking about carbon footprints. There is nothing inherently wrong with carbon dioxide as a gas. After all, humans and animals naturally breathe it out. The struggle we face, however, is an overabundance of carbon dioxide in the air due to human activity.
How can you reduce your carbon footprint?
Thankfully, there are many ways we can fight climate change in our daily lives. Here are some simple actions you can start with to reduce your carbon footprint today:
1. Opt for locally grown food
Most transportation is fossil fuel based. Fossil fuel produces vast amounts of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas that warms the atmosphere. By eating locally grown food (eg. local fish and potatoes), you’re helping to reduce the carbon footprint created by transporting food from other parts of the world. When it comes to your vitamin intake, hyper-local food is the way to go. With Click & Grow smart gardens, you can easily grow vitamin rich food that’s hyper-local and free from harmful substances.
Food waste is responsible for approximately 8% of global emissions. It’s estimated that a third of all food is wasted. 45% of vegetables and fruits are wasted and a staggering 62% of salad greens are wasted. A big part of reducing our carbon footprint includes being mindful of the amount of food we throw away.
By growing hyper-locally with a smart garden, it’s very easy to avoid food waste and you can be sure that everything you grow is consumed. You harvest your plant exactly when you need it. It does not lose any nutritional value during the few moments it spends between harvesting and eating. This way, all the resources that have gone into producing the plant are purposefully used.
The same cannot be said for other growing methods, no matter how sustainable or low-waste they may be. Take organic farming, for instance. Waste is still produced and there’s much more time that passes from when the plant leaves the ground to when it ends up in shops and then eventually is consumed. During that time produce starts losing its nutrients. The average for vegetables is 50% of nutrients per week. This means that the resources that have gone into producing the food and its nutrients are arguably wasted.
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2. Plant a garden
If you’re fortunate enough to have some outdoor space, why not plant a garden? Plants help reduce your carbon footprint by absorbing carbon dioxide. If you live in an urban environment, plant some luscious greens in your office, kitchen or living room with a smart garden. The sight of greenery can inspire friends, family and neighbours to do more to conserve nature.
3. Consider how you move
More cars on the road means more pollutants in the air. Do you really need to use a ride-sharing service for that easy journey? Whenever possible, why not walk, cycle, or take the bus? It’s encouraging to see that more and more cities are adding designated pedestrian and cycling routes to their infrastructures. Some of the most bike-friendly cities in the world include Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Strasbourg, Portland and Montreal. We can also help reduce emissions by flying less. Before deciding on whether to book that flight, consider whether you could use alternative transportation such as trains.
4. Unplug unused appliances
Incredibly, some appliances may still consume energy even when turned off. ‘Phantom energy’ is said to be zapped up by appliances that stay plugged into an outlet, even after you’ve switched them off. Common examples are televisions left on standby or leaving toasters and kettles plugged in, even when not in use.
5. Switch to reusable goods where possible
It’s true that every item of waste we throw away adds to our carbon footprint. It’s possible to reduce this by switching to reusable goods whenever we can. Take advantage of items such as reusable shopping bags, coffee cups, and containers. When you do, try to keep using them thousands of times or else their higher production impact won’t pay off.
6. Turn your thermostat down
When you’re home, reduce your energy use by turning the thermostat down by a couple of degrees. At night you could turn it down even further. When you’re away from home, you could turn it off completely. If you have a smart thermostat, it’ll be able to sense when you’re home and adjust itself accordingly. Similarly, during summer, avoid overusing your air conditioner. Making cold air on a hot day requires even more power than making hot air on a cold day.
7. Eat less meat and dairy products
Food’s carbon footprint (aka foodprint) is the greenhouse gas emissions produced by growing, breeding, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of the food you consume. Reducing your consumption of meat and dairy products is one the most impactful and easiest ways to reduce your foodprint. It’s alarming to consider that, if cows were a country, they would be the 3rd highest emitters of greenhouse gases among all other countries. Furthermore, animal farming takes up 83% of the planet’s agricultural land but provides only 18% of our calories.
It’s interesting to consider the foodprints of some of the most popular foods around:
- The foodprint of most cereals is 1 kg CO₂ - equivalent for 1 kg cereals produced,
- For rice it is 2.5-6 kg per kg of rice produced
- Poultry meat is 4 kg, beef 20 kg, pork 6 kg per kg of meat
- Domestic vegetables and potatoes are 0.4 kg
- A kilo of cheese is made with 10L of milk which means over 10kg CO2
- Milk less than 2 kg
- Boiled potatoes 0.9 kg
- Bread 0.3 kg
- Baked pike 3.4 kg
- Apple 0.6 kg
- Egg 2.7 kg
- Orange 1.5 kg
- Margarine 1 kg
- Rapeseed oil 1 kg
- Olive oil 4.8 kg
- Ham and pineapple pizza 16 kg
- Coca-Cola 2.2 kg
8. Donate for CO2 neutrality
While this doesn’t necessarily suit everyone, many have found that a fast and impactful way to reduce their carbon footprint is by donating to organisations such as Cool Earth or Go Climate Neutral. All donations collected go towards projects that help fight climate change and issues such as deforestation. The amount you donate each month is calculated based on your lifestyle. The greater your carbon footprint, the more you would donate for climate neutrality.
To learn more about what we believe in, visit us at www.clickandgrow.com.
Enjoy a more sustainable diet and lower your carbon footprint by growing tasty, pesticide-free greens at home.