Managing your personal carbon footprint is like managing your health or weight; commitment and consistency lead to slow and steady improvements

According to an activist, while individual efforts to minimize greenhouse gases is essential, it must be paired with “political engagement and system change.”

Cara Augustenborg, a Dublin-based climate scientist and activist, explained that the integrity of climate scientists is at stake because of their own efforts to minimize emissions.

Augustenborg, who is also chair of Friends of the Earth Europethe world’s largest grassroots environmental network, said that her approach to her own carbon footprint is similar to how she tries to lose weight. She acknowledged that everyone has to “chip away at it,” the same way one has to exercise regularly and eat healthy to successfully lose weight.

She believes that “[individual] actions can make a difference.” But she added that all efforts must “come with action that brings about broader change.”

In Ireland, the average citizen has a carbon footprint of about 13 tons annually. Before the goals of the Paris Agreement are met, this has to decrease to a maximum of four tons. (Related: 5 Simple Ways to Slash your Home’s Carbon Footprint.)

Based on Augustenborg’s calculations, she can reduce her personal carbon footprint to at least seven tons. But she admitted that to make it go down to four tons, Ireland’s energy and transportation systems must be decarbonized. She shared that she already switched to an electric vehicle in a bid to lower her carbon footprint.

Augustenborg noted that encouraging people to start practicing these individual changes may make a difference, but the government needs to step up before the target can actually be met. For this to work, the public must become politically engaged since behavioral change is “[too] slow to stop runaway climate change.”

She added that women should also start talking more about climate issues. It’s also important to channel the influence they have when it comes to making climate-friendly household decisions. Augustenborg concluded,”There are so few women talking about it, and that means fewer women are engaged. And a lot of the big things we are talking about as far as household carbon footprint are shaped by women. Things like which car to buy, what to eat or where to go on holiday.”

Eco-friendly tips that can minimize your carbon footprint

If you want to reduce your personal carbon footprint to curb pollution and help save the environment, try some of the tips below:

  • Cultivate your own garden — Gardening is one of the best ways to minimize your carbon footprint. If you have enough space, plant some bee-friendly flowers, trees, or a vegetable garden. If you live in the city, try growing a balcony garden.
  • Eat local and organic food — Try to buy more local and in-season produce. Doing so means you can help lower the carbon footprint created when food is shipped to your city from other locations. Growing fruits and vegetables in your backyard or buying them from a local farm can greatly reduce environmental cost. This can also encourage small farms to start beneficial soil-care practices. It also supports the local economy and promotes food security. Eating local organic food also guarantees that you are eating produce free from toxic pesticides and other chemicals that may harm the environment.
  • Line-dry clothes on laundry day — Instead of using your dryer, try line-drying your clothing. This is better for the environment, especially since one dryer load uses five times more electricity than washing. By line-drying your clothes, you can save 1/3 of their carbon footprint.
  • Unplug devices that you’re not using — Simply turning off a device isn’t enough. When you keep electronics plugged in, they’re still consuming energy even if they’re switched off.
  • Walk more — Skip driving if you can bike, commute, or walk to your destination. In the U.S., public transportation helps saves at least 37 million tons of carbon emissions annually.

These simple changes are easy to implement yet they can effectively minimize your personal carbon footprint. Don’t wait until it’s too late to save the environment before you take action.

Read more articles about how we can lower our personal carbon footprint to prevent environmental damage at

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