We’ve heard for years, pollution is destroying the planet and unless we make significant changes, things are not going to get better. Every little change counts, so take individual steps to make a difference!

You don't have to sell your gasoline-fueled vehicle in favor of an electric or natural gas car, smaller changes, such as carpooling, adjusting the thermostat in the summer and winter, riding a bike as often as possible, and using energy-efficient appliances can help you get a head start. In the long run, a “greener” lifestyle will be beneficial to your health and the environment.

To begin, it is important to be aware of your carbon footprint.

What exactly is a carbon footprint?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term, which became widely used in 1999, as “the amount of greenhouse gases and specifically carbon dioxide emitted by something (as a person's activities or a product's manufacture and transport) during a given period.”

the-carbon-footprint

To calculate your carbon footprint:

1-   Find an online calculator to help you determine your numbers.

You can find free and reliable carbon footprint calculators on the following websites:

www.epa.gov

http://carbonfund.org

www.carbonfootprint.com

2-   Enter the number of people and the number of bedrooms in your household.

3-   Enter your zip code.

4-   Determine if you have made any energy-saving installations in your home such as energy-efficient light bulbs, insulation, windows, weather stripping, or energy-efficient water heaters. Calculators such as the one found on CarbonFund.org are very precise at they ask for your electricity, natural gas, and heating oil usage for the year.

5-   Determine your recycling habits. Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the processing of raw materials.

6-   Determine the quantity of gas emissions from your car or truck by writing down the year, make, model, mileage, and number of miles you drive per year.

7-   Determine the amount of miles you travel by plane, train and bus.

8-   Once all the values are entered, you’ll get your carbon footprint number.

Visit sites such as www.epa.gov to get tips and suggestions on how to reduce your carbon footprint. You may also become proactive and make a donation to dedicate one or more trees through organizations such as Tree People. The L.A. based organization plants trees, which absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. And there’s 21 other great reasons to plant and care for trees.