Top 5 Family Tips To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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There’s a lot of doom and gloom around the climate change conversation.

Getting engaged in any sort of change to reduce global warming can feel far-fetched and overwhelming. But we’re here to remind you that small actions, when done collectively, do matter. They also help motivate us and our communities to get active in change, while maintaining hopefulness for the future.

Once you’re onboard in wanting to reduce your family’s carbon emissions, where do you even start? Turns out, there are accessible ways to change your family’s everyday routines. The icing on the cake? Modeling these carbon footprint-reducing behaviors to your kids is powerful and sets them up with tools to continue advocating for positive change in their lives. 

Boy holding leafs in a comfy 100% cotton long sleeve tee shirt

Here’s 5 ways to get the family engaged in reducing your carbon footprint  –

Reduce Food Waste & Integrate A Composting Solution

According to Project Drawdown, roughly one third of the world’s food is never eaten and the food we waste is responsible for roughly 8 percent of global emissions. A simple way to reduce your family’s food waste is by composting! Many cities now offer green bins in their waste management systems, where you can put your food waste. If that’s not an option in your city, you can often compost at your local farmer’s market, get an at-home Bokashi compost, or find folks in your community to compost with through ShareWaste.

Reduce The Amount Of Meat & Dairy Your Family Consumes

Plant-rich diets are key to help reduce carbon emissions. According to the UN’s Food & Agricultural Organization, meat and dairy account for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. You don’t have to take it entirely out of the family diet – start with Meatless Mondays or change the menu away from meat and dairy for a couple days per week.

Ditch Single-Use Plastics & Change To Reusables

Reducing your dependence on single-use plastics is an easy way to decrease your family’s carbon footprint. Ditch single-use plastics – water bottles, coffee cups, take-out containers, plastic bags – and change them out for reusable alternatives. Here’s some of our favorites: Pyrex containers, Kleen Kanteen water bottles, and PlanetBox or Lunchbots metal lunchboxes. You can also search for refillable stores in your neighborhood that offer refills for groceries, beauty or cleaning products. 

There are so many ways we can get involved in working to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Volunteer With Local Environmental Groups

Get engaged in your local community; it’s a great way to get involved with collective action to reduce carbon emissions. Search for local nonprofits working on grassroots projects through Intersectional Environmentalist’s Database. You can also search for community-led projects that involve weeding invasive plants and reintroducing native plants – these are great opportunities to get outside with the family while getting active in creating change.

Advocate For Legislative Change 

Voicing your concerns about the planet to your elected officials is key to instigating change. Advocate for transformative legislation – call your elected officials and let them know climate change is a concern for you or bring your family to an environmental rally to speak up about how legislative change is needed. Start local with your city council, and change can expand from there.

There are many ways to get involved in working to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Doing it together with your family makes it fun, and also gives you the chance to teach your kids powerful lessons for their future. Remember that small shifts and simple questions create ripples. Suggest slight changes at your workplace or local stores and restaurants – these changes can create a snowball effect in your community. And don’t forget – perfectionism isn’t possible, so give yourself grace along the journey with your family! 

Written by: City Threads Cofounders Shayna Samuels & Joe Willis, and Kestrel Jenkins, responsibility consultant & host of the Conscious Chatter podcast.