The environment is at the heart of many Quebecers’ concerns, we all want to do our part to improve the fate of our planet. Many good habits that once disrupted our daily lives are now part of our routine: recycling, composting, bringing our bags to the grocery store, consigning cans, etc. We can say that all our daily activities generate a carbon footprint, more or less important. It is necessary to adopt good habits in terms of lifestyle or consumption to slow down the climate changes we are facing. But concretely: what can we do on a daily basis to improve our carbon footprint even more?
We asked Coop Carbone, experts in GHG reduction and offsetting with whom the Nutrite Experts Network developed the Carbon Footprint Calculator for green spaces and the Carbon Neutral Guide, to suggest 5 actions to take in everyday life to improve your environmental footprint.
1. Sustainable mobility
Sustainable mobility refers to means of transportation that do not use fossil fuels (mainly gasoline or diesel), reduce the need for road infrastructure and improve social access to travel.
Choose active modes of travel (biking or walking) at least for short distances. For longer distances, use public transit. Invite your neighbors to share your personal vehicle or to carpool, whether it is to get to work, to the grocery store or to take the kids to school if walking is not an option. If you must drive often, make wise choices when purchasing a vehicle and then maintain it well and for as long as possible. When on vacation or on business trips, if possible, avoid flying, opting instead for other forms of public transportation such as the train.
Grow your own vegetables, fruits and herbs and, when you have the chance, buy local and seasonal produce. In addition to being organic and pesticide-free if you wish, growing your own vegetables at home avoids all the GHG emissions caused by transportation in the supply chain: producers, distributors, sellers and consumers. Set an example by offering your garden surplus to your family, friends and neighbors. Share it!
Buying local and seasonal produce allows for short-distance transportation and supports regional economic development.
Also, it is essential to minimize food waste. In addition to increasing the production of methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas, during decomposition in landfills, waste affects more than just the food itself. All the energy used to produce and transport it is also wasted if it is not consumed.
3. Repair, reuse
Encourage the repair of appliances, furniture, etc., rather than replacing them and consider giving to your loved ones what you do not use. Increasing the lifespan of our appliances will decrease the production of new products. We are very quick on the trigger when it comes to making purchases. Take the time to think about your needs and the impact of your consumption before letting yourself be carried away by your impulses. If a purchase becomes necessary, try to choose products that can be repaired or for which producers have a responsibility at the end of their life.
Every time you make a purchase, read the labels and learn about the company’s values: some products and services are more environmentally friendly than others. Are the companies you’re dealing with committed and environmentally responsible? Check to see if they are interested in fighting climate change and are taking concrete steps in this direction. Check out their websites, advertisements, social networks and more, and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Informed consumers looking for like-minded companies will increase the supply of these companies. We will see a greater mobilization for eco-responsible products and companies, which will have the direct effect of minimizing the environmental impact of our consumption.
The most important eco-responsible actions are not always individual. The industry has a great responsibility in this area, but you can influence them!
If you use hydroelectricity (from Hydro Quebec) to heat your home, congratulations! If you don’t, look for other options to use a clean energy source. There are programs to help you replace gasoline, natural gas or diesel equipment that can help with the costs of such upgrades. Pay particular attention to wood burning systems which are not necessarily good for the environment because of the particulates released into the air and the smoke. Wood heating can be optimized by upgrading the equipment and the type of fuel used.
You know the saying, “Everything that is measured tends to improve.” It is therefore important to know your carbon footprint in order to identify avenues for improvement! There are websites that allow you to do this calculation for free, in addition to the Nutrite Expert Network’s carbon footprint calculator for your green spaces.
Unfortunately, some GHG emissions cannot be eliminated at the source. You can then opt for the concept of carbon offsetting, which allows individuals and companies to finance projects that contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions. This is the option that the Nutrite Experts Network has chosen for several years now. Coop Carbone offers this compensation service through its page Offset my GHG emissions (french only).
Every little gesture counts. Thank you for making our planet a better place to live, for a long time!