Today we’re going to get you started on reducing your carbon footprint with these ridiculously easy and much more fun ways of going about your daily life. (aka – starting a fire with handheld tools rather than squirting some lighter fluid on it, or biking instead of steering 4 wheels powered by a motor) First, a bit about Carbon Footprints: Carbon footprints measure how much carbon dioxide (CO2) we produce just by going about our daily lives. A drive to work, turning a light on, and a flight to your next adventure’s destination all rely on the combustion of fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas. When fossil fuels burn, they emit greenhouse gases like CO2 that contribute to things like global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer. In fact, 99% of atmospheric CO2 comes from the combustion of fossil fuels [source: Energy Information Administration]. There are two ways you can help to decrease your carbon footprint: 1) OFFSET IT. You can check out CarbonFund.org here or GreenMountainEnergy.com here. Sometimes, we simply can’t avoid it, but there is still a way. When it comes to this option, consider this statistic presented by the Clean Air Concil: Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, an extra million tons of waste is generated each week! You’d be surprised just how far your dollar will go and how little it will cost you to offset the flight you took home to visit your family after climbing Yosemite all season. 2) REDUCE IT. You can check out a few carbon calculators here and here. And of course, let’s check out what you can start doing TODAY to make the world a cleaner, better place for generations to come. Source: Encyclopedia of Earth 1.) ONLINE BILL BAY Save on postage and carrier mail. Besides, most of us are either off traveling somewhere so much and for so long that having a mailbox is almost inefficient. Did You Know: The junk mail Americans receive in one day could generate enough energy to heat 250,000 homes. Unwanted junk mail is mostly thrown away and even up to 44% is ditched without being opened. (Source: EcoFriendlyPlanet.com) 2.) IXNAY THE BOTTLED WATER Drink tap water instead of bottled, and you’ll also extend the life of your local landfill. Plastic bottles require energy to make, fill, and ship, and half-liter sizes generate emissions at twice the rate of gallon jugs. Faucet water needs energy only to pump. Did You Know: Lots of beverage containers are used in the U.S: a typical family consumes 182 gallons of soda, 104 gallons of milk, 29 gallons of juice, and 26 gallons of bottled water a year. (Source: EcoFriendlyPlanet.com) 3.) DITCH THE CAR FOR THE COMMUTE Ride your bike to work. Did You Know: Cars release approximately 333 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, which is 20 percent of the world’s total, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. 4.) USE YOUR SURVIVAL SKILLS WHEN LIGHTING FIRES Skip the lighter fluid and start your charcoal with an electric igniter or chimney starter. ***WOULDN’T USING AN ELECTRIC IGNITER BE INCREASING THE CARBON FOOTPRINT?****** 5.) “BAG” THE BAG Single use bags are becoming banned or at least given fees all over the world. Keep the trend going by bringing your own reusable tote to the store with you. Did You Know: The state of California spends about 25 million dollars sending plastic bags to landfills each year, and another 8.5 million dollars to remove littered bags from streets.(Source: Clean Air Council) 6.) BUY LOCAL & EAT LOCAL Buy local and organic food direct from the farmer whenever possible, and keep dollars in your local economy. The biggest savings are realized in eliminating transportation. 7.) COMPOST FOOD SCRAPS Compost food scraps and yard waste so you can skip synthetic fertilizers, which pollute water and are energy-intensive to produce. 8.) BE PICKY ABOUT YOUR T.P. Use recycled-content toilet paper. You can find this at almost any grocery store today. Even better – find TP that doesn’t use cardboard! Did You Know: If every U.S. household replaced one roll per year, 424,000 trees would be saved. 9.) CLEAN UP CAMP When cleaning up campsites, use a cotton bandana or towel that can be rinsed and reused, not baby wipes or paper towels. Did You Know: As many as 51,000 trees per day are required to replace the number of paper towels that are discarded every day. 10.) REPLACE PROPERLY Replace old gear with green gear as it wears out—an old polyester fleece with a recycled poly fleece, for example. 11.) THE FINAL ONE: REPAIR REPAIR REPAIR!!! Repair your clothing, gear and appliances. This helps, a lot. A FINAL NOTE: The choices we make in our homes, our travel, the food we eat, and what we buy and throw away all influence our carbon footprint and can help ensure a stable climate for future generations. Share in the comments some other ways you’ve changed your decisions and actions in your daily life to help reduce your carbon footprint.