It is a question that concerns more and more people: How can I keep my ecological footprint on this planet as small as possible? We have looked into the matter of saving CO2 in everyday life and have 7 simple tips for you with which you can really make a difference. Let’s save CO2!
What actually makes CO2 so dangerous?
Let’s travel back in time together, to the school desk. There we all (yes, you too!) learned the following: CO2 is a so-called greenhouse gas. Contained in the atmosphere, it ensures that heat radiation from the earth is reflected and cannot escape into space. In principle, this is not all bad. Without this so-called greenhouse effect, we would not even be able to inhabit the Earth – it would be far too cold.
The problem with this, as in so many cases, is the masses: over the years, mankind’s lifestyle has changed significantly due to technical innovations and developments. In the meantime, each of us produces an average of 11.6 tonnes of CO2 per year (source: Federal Environment Agency). As you can probably imagine, this is far too much for the Earth’s population as a whole. As a result, the CO2 layer becomes denser and denser, stores more and more heat and thus contributes significantly to global warming.
What is the ecological footprint?
You, we, everyone leaves it – the ecological footprint. It is a complex sustainability indicator developed in the mid-1990s by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees. It indicates how much area (forest, arable land, sea, etc.) is needed to renew consumed resources and absorb waste products. So the more sustainable your lifestyle, the smaller your carbon footprint.
Did you know? You can calculate your personal CO2 footprint on the website of the Federal Environment Agency.
What do trees have to do with the global climate?
Plants and (due to their size) especially trees extract CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and store it. They therefore make a valuable contribution to climate protection. The amount of carbon dioxide they can absorb is significantly related to their age. A forest that is at least 200 years old can store an average of 2.4 tonnes per hectare (10,000 square metres) per year. That is quite a lot.
A 2019 study by ETH Zurich investigated whether reforestation can counteract climate change. The result: 200 billion tonnes of carbon should be pulled out of the atmosphere by planting at least 1000 billion trees. According to the ETH press release, this could offset two-thirds of the CO2 pollution caused by humans. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? The study has now (unfortunately) already received headwind from research circles.
Saving CO2 in everyday life: 7 simple tips to really make a difference
It’s the little habits that bring you closer to your goal. In the following, we will show you 7 simple tips that everyone can apply in everyday life. We think that such important things cannot be repeated often enough. So, clear the stage for our tips on how to save CO2 in everyday life.
Leave the car at home if possible
Sounds simple and you’ve probably heard or read this tip a hundred times somewhere. But in fact, a large part of CO2 emissions are caused by car drivers. So if we all walk or cycle (which is also much healthier) or use public transport, we can drastically reduce our carbon footprint.
You may have heard this tip many times before. Saving CO2 in everyday life works great if you plan your trips carefully. Of course, you shouldn’t take a 36-hour train ride to get to your destination. But it is worthwhile to avoid flying, especially for short distances within a country. If you have to/want to fly, you can also offset the resulting CO2 emissions on platforms such as Atmosfair or similar.
Collect your old glass
Saving CO2 in everyday life starts with habits. To keep your ecological footprint as small as possible, you should get into the habit of collecting and recycling used glass. Pro-tip: Maybe you can use one or two of them as a nice storage jar or turn them into a vase? Upcycling is all the rage and we also take a close look at every empty glass before we throw it away.
Reduce packaging waste
The tiresome topic of waste – yes, we mention it too. Every little step counts. Maybe you just pick up a non-wrapped cucumber at the supermarket or buy your tomatoes in batches. Even a visit to the unpacked shop is an experience (and by the way, not as expensive as people always think). The point is that we all take a few steps in the right direction to save CO2 in our everyday life – then we can make a big difference.
Take the stairs
Not only your health but also the environment will thank you: instead of taking the lift, you can get into the habit of taking the stairs. This saves electricity and thus CO2.
Watch what you eat
Many of you may not want to hear it, but it’s the truth: vegetarians and especially vegans leave a much smaller ecological footprint than mixed-food eaters. This is because raising farm animals consumes a lot of resources. It is not our aim to proselytise here – but we did not want to leave this point unmentioned.
So the more often you avoid meat and other animal products, the more CO2 you can save. But not only the switch to a predominantly plant-based diet but also the consumption of predominantly regional and above all seasonal products will shrink your footprint.
And that brings us to the last topic: buy mindfully. In the food sector, for example, a seasonal calendar can be helpful to give you an overview of seasonal vegetables and fruits. In the area of fashion, household and cosmetics, there are now so many great brands that avoid harmful ingredients in the production and selection of materials and reduce/optimise packaging. It’s important to ask yourself why before every purchase. Because consciously purchased products make you sustainably happy.
Do you have any other tips for saving CO2 in everyday life? Feel free to share them with us in the comments or on social media. We look forward to exchanging ideas with you.
Check out HolyAve for the German version of this post.