16 Simple Ways You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint In 2018

16 Simple Ways You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint In 2018

Even you can prevent environmental degradation.

It's the New Year, and with that comes New Year's resolutions. Mine this year and every year is to be more mindful of my impact on the environment. What makes a resolution successful has everything to do with how easily it can be integrated into your everyday life.

All of these tips require little to no money or resources but rely on limiting your consumption. The best way to limit your effects is not by remediating the problem, but avoiding the problem in the first place. Here are some things you can start doing today to lower your carbon footprint.

1. Lower your thermostat in the winter.

Lowering the temperature one degree saw a decrease of $10 on their monthly heating bill for some during this study done by the Environmental Protection Agency.

2. Conversely, raise your thermostat in the summer.

The less often you run your air conditioning unit, the less energy you will use.

3. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth.

Keeping the water running while brushing your teeth wastes about five gallons of water, according to the MWD. Once this water runs through your house it is brought back to a water treatment facility and processed, even though it hasn't been affected by use. Water is also a limited resource in some areas, so it's in everyone's best interest to be mindful of how much water they use, and how much they waste.

4. Buy local when possible.

27% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. Buying local decreases transportation use which heavily relies on petroleum products, specifically gasoline. The farther a product travels to get to you, the larger of a carbon footprint it carries.

5. Refuse straws.

Single-use straws are not biodegradable and are unable to be recycled due to their small size and inability to be properly sanitized. This means tons of plastic sits in landfills or is dumped into oceans where its consumed by aquatic life. Scientists are finding more and more sea creatures washed on shore with stomachs full of plastic.

6. Drive less.

This is a given. Lower your consumption of petroleum products by walking short distances and taking advantage of public transportation when possible.

7. Invest in reusable bags... and don't forget them at home!

Limiting your use of plastic bags decreases the amount of plastic produced. Invest in canvas bags and keep them in your car or at your front door so you never forget them. Bonus, you won't ever have to worry about recycling plastic bags again.

8. Turn off all lights and electronics when not in use.

Decreasing energy use is in your wallet's best interest. Like I remind my roommates through countless sticky notes and texts, if you're leaving the room, turn off the light!

9. Wash your clothes on cold.

Not heating your water before washing will save a ton of energy on your gas bill. Also, washing on cold prevents stains from setting, is gentler on clothes, and stops colors from bleeding. Win-win-win.

10. Accelerate slower from stops when driving.

Acceleration has a big impact on gas mileage, especially when driving in the city. Take more time to accelerate to the speed limit and it will take more time to need to visit the gas station.

11. Invest in reusable water bottles.

It's 2018. It's time we admit what bottled water is: a scam. They're expensive, wasteful, and unnecessary. Producing bottled water uses 17 million barrels of oil, equivalent to adding 1.3 million more cars to the roads. And if you like bottled water for the taste, 24% of bottled water sold in the United States is just filtered tap water. Save your money and just run your tap water through a Brita filter.

12. Same with coffee mugs.

Expect to also see a small discount when you visit your favorite coffee shops. Starbucks will take off ten cents from your drink when you use your own mug, and Dunkin Donuts offers any sized hot or iced coffee in your own mug for 99 cents.

13. Donate old clothes instead of throwing them out.

Much of our clothes are now made of manmade textiles which are made of way more plastic than you would think. Many clothing items are not biodegradable. Instead of sending your clothes to sit for hundreds of years in a landfill, donate them. You'll reduce waste while also helping someone in need.

14. Avoid meat and dairy one night a week (or more).

Agriculture is the greatest immediate threat to ecosystems around the world. Large amounts of land are deforested for farming and heavy pesticide use and waste runoff degrade the soil and pollute our water. Without going full vegan, cutting our meat and dairy specifically can cut down on industrial pollution.

15. Support environmental legislation.

State and local elections are incredibly important and always happen once a year! This is your opportunity to elect representatives that have you and the environment in mind. Choose representatives based on their opinions of environmental protection. Now more than ever we need legislation to protect public land trusts and regulate industrial pollution.

16. Be mindful of companies you support.

If you're thinking "hey, do all of these things really make a real difference?" this tip is for you. Only buy from companies who values align with yours and publically boycott those who don't. Your voice and your money have power. With the advent of social media, there is no knowing how much impact the next generations will have on climate change. There is still hope, but it's on us to do the work.

Happy New Year. Implement as many of these tips as you can into your daily life. Not only will they save you some money here and there, but you can feel better about your energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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18 Realities Only Chihuahua Owners Understand

Tiny tongues, toys and tummy rubs.

Being a Chihuahua owner is a task many are not cut out for. Chihuahua hearts are big but there owners' are bigger. From constant coddling to invasive snuggles, there are some things only a Chihuahua owner understands:

1. Tiny tongue in your nose.

Be wary. Look away for a moment and your Chihuahua's tongue will slide into your nose faster than you can say stop. Just to be clear, this doesn't end at noses. Other body cavities, such as the eyes, ears and mouth are also at risk for Chihuahua infiltration.

2. Cat toys are its toys.

When your dog is tiny, it needs tiny toys.

3. Burying.

If your dog is missing, it's probably at the foot of your bed... under the covers. Oh, your bed is made? You don't think they would have been able to nuzzle down without disturbing your pillows? Wrong.

4. Claw marks halfway to your knee.

Because they want to be picked up and that's as high as they can reach.

5. Belly rubs.

Lots of them.

6. The fact that your dog is basically a cat.

They play with cat toys. They're cat sized.

7. The fact that your dog is more like a baby than a dog, or even a cat.

Okay, scratch that. Owning a chihuahua is more like having an infant that needs constant coddling. If they could talk we'd hear "pick me up, mommy" all day long.

8. The shakes.

Shakes because they're scared. Shakes because they're nervous.

9. Any miniature sized objects become toys.

Wine corks, toilet paper rolls...

10. Constant crying.

They cry when they're too excited, overwhelmed or scared which means it's always eye-wiping time!

11. Snuggles in your body's crevices

Mere cuddling is not enough for these creatures. Snuggling is only adequate when they strategically place themselves into the most irritating curve of your body- like the arch of your back or the back of your knees.

12. Being judged for the type of dog you own.

As if all Chihuahua owners participate in this type of embarrassing behavior... not saying that I don't.

13. Little dog syndrome.

14. Rain is not your friend.

Let's not even talk about thunder. There's no way you're getting your dog out of the house for a of couple hours.

15. You can't count how many times your dog has been called the Taco Bell Dog.

Yes, we get it, it's a Chihuahua. No, it doesn't need a sombrero.

16. You never go anywhere in your house alone.

Going to the kitchen? So are they! Bathroom, no problem, they'll be there to support you!

17. 'Sit' probably took you six months.

Let's just say, at least they've got the cute thing going for them.

18. The stank eye.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel C. Baxter

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Having A Pet At College Has Been A Huge Blessing

When you come home from a hard test, you can snuggle with a puppy who does not care if you have done well or not.


Having a pet at school can seem like a huge hassle: walking it, feeding it, taking it back and forth and spending more nights at home than going out. Even though having a pet is a large responsibility, they are very beneficial.

A pet not only teaches basic responsibility like being able to take care of another living thing, but it provides a level of comfort. When you come home from a hard test you can snuggle with a puppy who does not care if you have done well or not, and if you are sick your pet will be by your side watching the newest release on Netflix with you. No matter what you are going through, a pet is there to comfort and console.

Even more so, a pet has the ability to get you out of bed when no one else can. They need you to take care of them and count on you to do so. Having a furry friend aids in socialization too. When you take your puppy out for a walk, the other dog owners will talk to you while your puppy also gets socialized. Inviting people over to meet your new cat can create the perfect situation to hang out with friends and new people.

Mostly, an animal can help improve your mood, which is especially important during finals week! They do silly things like chase their own tail and run to see you when you come home after a long day.

Overall, pets make you feel less lonely, encourage exercise and health, and decrease stress. In some ways, it seems as if there is nothing a pet cannot do for you. However, if you're thinking about bringing a pet on to a college campus, there is still a lot to consider, like the safety of the animal, if you have the ability to properly care for it and if you can afford to take care of it.

Pets are extremely beneficial for emotional help, especially when the stress of college seems overwhelming. Having a dog on campus definitely has its benefits, especially considering you get a best friend for life.

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